By Emily Bary
Fears about data-center and smartphone weakness didn't play out in company's outlook, RBC says
Micron Technology Inc. soothed concerns about the memory landscape after the company gave an upbeat forecast underpinned by strong data-center momentum.
The company expects to continue benefitting from data-center demand through the rest of the year in an encouraging sign for analysts. Micron shares (MU) were up 6% in Tuesday morning trading, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index is up more than 2%.
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"Significantly playing down fears of data-center demand weakness, Micron expects data center demand to remain strong with new gaming console as additional tailwind in 2H CY20," Bernstein's Mark Newman wrote. "This was a particularly positive comment."
Newman reiterated an outperform rating and $70 price target on Micron's stock.
Needham's Rajvindra Gill said that Micron's outlook could be viewed as encouraging for several other big chip companies. "While Micron indicated that its visibility in the near-term remains limited due to COVID-19 and macro/trade-related uncertainty, we view Micron's commentary on data center strength as read-throughs to Nvidia (NVDA), Tower Semiconductor (TSEM.TV) , Microchip Technology (MCHP), and ON Semiconductor (ON)." He said that Micron was the first major chip name to offer a read on the August quarter.
Gill has a buy rating and $70 price target on the shares.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves said the company proved its doubters wrong. "We think investors were bracing for weaker data-center comments and weaker smartphone comments and neither came to fruition," he wrote in a note to clients.
Steves emerged from Micron's earnings call feeling confident about the company's execution for the remainder of the calendar year, though he acknowledged there could be some risk to consumer-focused areas in calendar 2021. Steves maintained an outperform rating on the stock and upped his price target to $60 from $55.
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Cowen & Co.'s Karl Ackerman saw commentary from Micron that could serve as fodder for both bulls and bears. "Perhaps [the August quarter] is a near-term peak, but we remain very constructive on C2021 with 5G handsets and new server CPUs driving memory demand," he wrote.
Bears may still have questions about the sustainability of DRAM bit growth as well as Micron's elevated inventory days metric, Ackerman acknowledged. "We walked away more encouraged by NAND fundamentals than DRAM," he wrote, while reiterating an outperform rating and $65 target price.
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At least 10 analysts raised their price targets on Micron's stock after the report, according to FactSet. Of the 36 analysts tracked by FactSet who cover Micron's stock, 27 have buy ratings, eight have hold ratings, and one has a sell rating, with an average price target of $52.11, about 24% above recent levels.
Micron shares have added 17% over the past three months, matching gains for the S&P 500 in that span.
-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 30, 2020 11:11 ET (15:11 GMT)
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