Shares of Boise, Idaho-based semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology Inc. (MU) surged 8.5% on Wednesday, closing at $37.09 as the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 after posting quarterly earnings that blew past the Street’s expectations.
As MU rallies 69.2% year-to-date (YTD), versus the S&P 500’s 12% gain over the same period, analysts have continued to recommend buying the stock on favorable pricing and improved margins. After surging to $33 in June, MU pulled back to $27 in August before reaching new highs around $36 in September. Now, analysts say the stock could skyrocket more than 100%, with Needham, the Street’s biggest bull, issuing a $76 price target. (See also: Stop Worrying and Buy Micron: Morgan Stanley.)
Expanding Gross Margins
On Tuesday, Micron posted earnings of $2.02 per share on revenue up 90% to $6.14 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter wherein the firm posted a loss of $0.01 on $3.22 billion in sales. The Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of $1.83 on revenue of $5.96 billion.
Both Credit Suisse and JPMorgan lifted their price targets on the chipmaker to $50 from $40 after the strong results and upbeat guidance. In a note titled “Big CapEx a Big Positive,” Credit Suisse’s John Pitzer wrote “even with CapEx of $7.5 bb, CFO endorsed possibility of net cash positive in FY18 implying cash flow from ops. of ~$13.2 bb versus our current estimate of $12.2 bb.”
Analysts at Baird issued a $52 price target on MU, expecting recent supply/demand trends to remain intact. Baird’s Tristan Gerra expects Micron’s gains to be driven by easy-to-beat comps and expanding gross margins.
Needham’s Rajvindra Gill, expecting Micron shares to gain another 105% from Wednesday close, argues that the stock is trading at a “trough multiple,” and that it should be trading at a “market multiple.” (See also: Buy Micron—DRAM, NAND to Deliver Upside: Deutsche.)