By Wallace Witkowski
Memory-chip maker hits 20-year high as analysts say demand is building from hyperscale data-center builders like Facebook and Microsoft
Micron Technology Inc. shares rallied Monday to a 20-year high as analysts said cloud data center demand was improving for the memory chip maker.
Micron (MU) shares gained as much as 5% Monday, and closed up 4.5% at $64.18, the stock's highest close since the waning days of the dot-com boom -- Sept. 19, 2000, when Micron shares closed at $65.19.
Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh hiked his price target on the stock to $70 from $56 in a Monday note, and said his checks indicate a rebound in cloud data-center demand in the first quarter of 2021, driven by Facebook Inc. (FB) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
"A faster-than-expected cloud recovery should position memory suppliers better as they have been reducing inventory," Rakesh, who has a buy rating on Micron, wrote. "We also note one of the biggest headwinds for the memory suppliers into 2H20 has been cloud/WFH softness in 2H20, and a rebound in 1H21 could position them well against a backdrop of declining supply, controlled capex and lower inventory levels."
Micron sells DRAM, or dynamic random access memory, the type of memory commonly used in PCs and servers, and NAND, which are the flash memory chips used in USB drives and smaller devices, such as digital cameras.
Also in a Monday note, Cowen analyst Karl Ackerman, who has an outperform rating and a $57 price target, said memory demand is showing signs of improving "across mobile/ gaming end markets while hyperscale data center and auto markets remain healthy."
"We continue to expect that FebQ should be seasonally soft, and that view has increasingly become consensus," Ackerman said. "We think the company sounded more optimistic on DRAM than NAND in 2021, driven by its view of inventory, demand momentum, and the last few quarters of industry capex investment."
In late September, Micron shares came under pressure () when the company said sales to Chinese telecommunications-equipment company Huawei -- which was banned from buying U.S. chips under President Donald Trump ( ) -- accounted for 10% of revenue. The current quarter is the first to fall under the ban.
For the year, Micron shares are up 19%, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index is up 40%, the S&P 500 index is up 10%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is up 32%. Of the 34 analyst who cover Micron, 27 have buy-equivalent ratings, six have hold ratings, and one has a sell rating, along with an average target price of $63.69, according to FactSet data.
-Wallace Witkowski; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 23, 2020 16:26 ET (21:26 GMT)
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