By Wallace Witkowski
Stock sheds its sole 'sell' rating following earnings report
Micron Technology Inc.'s stock received price hikes from more than half the analysts who follow it Friday and shed its holdout sell rating on expected strong growth in 2021.
Late Thursday, Micron (MU) confirmed that the memory-chip market is turning around reporting results and an outlook that topped Wall Street estimates (), adding that the outlook would have been stronger if not for non-memory chip shortages hampering production in the computer industry.
Micron shed its final holdout "sell" rating as Morningstar analyst Abhinav Davuluri raised his rating on the stock to three stars, or a hold rating, from two stars, and hiked his price target to $65 from $50.
"We believe Micron is well positioned to enjoy double-digit revenue growth in fiscal 2021, thanks to increased memory content associated with AI, cloud, 5G, and new game consoles," Davuluri said.
Of the 35 analysts who cover Micron, 29 have buy or overweight ratings on the stock and six have hold ratings. Of those 22 analysts hiked their price targets on the stock resulting in an average price target of $97.23, compared with a $85.50 before the report, according to FactSet data.
Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse, who has an outperform rating and hiked his price target to $105 from $90, indicated that Micron is definitely at the bottom of its cycle and can only go up from here.
"Let's keep it simple -- DRAM has bottomed," Muse said. "And the outlook is bright supported by 2 years of underspending on supply coupled with growth drivers led by 5G, AI, Cloud, and a recovery in Automotive/Industrial that should support supply constraints as we proceed through 2021 and potentially beyond."
Micron specializes in DRAM and NAND memory chips. DRAM, or dynamic random access memory, is the type of memory commonly used in PCs and servers and accounted for 70% of Micron's $5.77 billion in revenue in the fiscal first quarter. NAND chips are the flash memory chips used in USB drives and smaller devices, such as digital cameras.
Citi Research analyst Christopher Danley, who has a buy rating and upped his price target to $113 from $110, said the recovery in DRAM "should last for at least a year."
"After a false start in 2020, we expect DRAM pricing to sustain its upward trajectory beginning in 1Q21 given the largest supply/demand imbalance since 2017," Danley said. Last year, Micron had also called a bottom () in the memory-chip market that had suffered from a year-long supply glut.
"We forecast DRAM supply to grow +16.8% YoY in 2021, below DRAM demand growth of +20.1% YoY," Danley said.
Cowen analyst Karl Ackerman, who has an outperform rating and raised his price target to $90 from $80, looked past results that were boosted by an accounting change and a lack of stock repurchases over the quarter.
"A favorable accounting change in a rising price environment and an absence of buybacks may be sticking points for bears," Ackerman said. "However, MU enters F21 with arguably the best product portfolio in the industry that should enable it to capitalize on broadening demand."
Micron shares teetered between slight gains and losses in Friday trading. Then again, the stock is up more than 5% on the week as analysts upgraded their ratings on the stock ahead of earnings (). Shares closed at $79.11 Thursday, their highest finish since Aug. 31, 2000, when they closed at $81.75.
Over the past three months, Micron shares have rallied 60%, compared with a 25% increase on the PHLX Semiconductor Index , an 11% rise by the S&P 500 index and a 15% gain by the Nasdaq Composite Index . Compare that with the past 12 months where Micron gained 39% gain and the SOX index rallied 58%.
-Wallace Witkowski; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 08, 2021 13:35 ET (18:35 GMT)
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