Texas Instruments: Buy or sell?

TXN shares up after announcing a dividend boost and buyback -- moves that meant nothing in the past. Could this be different?

By Jim Cramer Sep 17, 2010 8:40AM

jim cramer of thestreet.comBy Jim Cramer, TheStreet


I had a difficult e-mail conversation last night about Texas Instruments (TXN).


First, we know we got good news: a dividend boost and a buyback. Second, the buyback is about a quarter of the company, a lot of stock. Third, the company's making a statement -- "Things are better than you think" -- and the stock was up more than a buck in the aftermarket.


But, the e-mailer pointed out, so what? Texas Instruments has made both of these moves multiple times, and it has meant nothing. In fact, less than nothing, as the stock has repeatedly slunk back to where it was before the news. Except this time the business isn't as good as some of the other times.


Conclusion from him: Sell the stock; it shouldn't be up.


I came at it a different way. First, I agree: Dividend boost, been there; and buyback, done that. And I am not going to argue about the business. TXN, the whole cohort, is not doing that well.

But we are in a different moment. We are in a moment when, seasonally, big money likes these stocks. We are in a moment when the economy, after hitting a slow patch, might be doing better. We are in a moment when the group looks like it overshot on the downside.

Intel (INTC) is not at $16 anymore. Cisco (CSCO) is not at $20. Oracle (ORCL) is busting through $26. Research In Motion (RIMM) isn't as bad as we thought, and Apple (AAPL) is better than we thought.


Does this mean that Texas Instruments is a buy? I think that the stock could go to $30 in this new environment on the hope -- yes, hope -- that business is now getting better and that the group has been overly punished.


In other words, I think my friend is right -- this is not anything new and different from TXN, and what you want is a boost in earnings from TXN, not a boost in buybacks.

However, in this moment, you go for the ride, and TXN's got news to make it ride faster than others. Nothing more. Two weeks ago, this was a shorting opportunity, no doubt. But now? Just enjoy it. Don't fight it. Not worth it.


At the time of publication, Cramer was long Apple, Cisco and Intel.


Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO.


Click here to learn how to follow Jim Cramer's trades for his Charitable Trust.


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