Shares of Micron (MU) are rising after two analysts raised their price targets on the stock, citing memory market changes and potential capital returns.
‘BUY THE BREAKOUT’: On Monday, Nomura Instinet analyst Romit Shah raised his price target for Micron Technology to $100 from $55 citing multiple expansion. After consolidating over the last four months, Micron shares are in the “early stages of another major breakout,” Shah tells investors in a research note. The analyst said he sees key catalysts for Micron, including a resumption of an upward trend in dynamic random-access memory pricing in the second quarter, a first-time dividend and share buyback announcement in May, continued margin expansion in NAND and increased merger and acquisition discussions. Shah expects another 10% increase in DRAM pricing over the next six months and an announcement by the company for a comprehensive capital return program that will show the management’s confidence in future cash flows. In addition, Shah expects additional margin expansion in NAND in 2018 and 2019 as weaker prices are offset by a stronger mix and cheaper cost per bit. The analyst also believes Micron stands out as a potential acquisition target as it is one of the few remaining U.S. chip companies that has scale, it is expanding its presence in NAND and its valuation looks attractive. The analyst kept a Buy rating on the name.
MEMORY MARKET CHANGES: In addition, Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse raised his price target on Micron to $80 from $60, stating that he thinks the memory market is “absolutely” different now with the DRAM industry consolidated to three players, all of whom are acting rational, and memory has become increasingly critical while the rising complexity has limited the magnitude of new supply. His sense is that Micron will move forward with capital returns “regardless of what we hear from the rating agencies” and predicts the company’s analyst day on May 21 should bring more news about planned capital returns starting in fiscal year 2019. Muse, who thinks Micron can earn $13 or more in earnings per share in calendar 2019, kept an Outperform rating on Micron shares.