Up nearly 50% already this year, shares of chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. (MU) appears to be riding an incessant wave of investor bullishness. But, that wave is about to become, well, a whole lot wavier, as options markets are pricing in a rise in the stock’s volatility when Micron reports earnings this Thursday, according to CNBC.
As of the close of trading on Tuesday, the producer of semiconductor chips used in electronic devices is up more than 555% over the past five years, a significant rise compared to the S&P 500’s 74% climb over the same period. Year to date, Micron is up almost 49% versus the overall market’s increase of less than 2%. (For more, see also: Micron Stock Breaks Out but Could See Near-Term Consolidation.)
Where the stock goes next is anyone’s guess, as prices in option markets imply Micron’s stock could move by 9% in either direction when the company reports earnings later this week. Typically, those markets predict that Micron shares will move by only 6% following an earnings report. When fiscal first quarter earnings were reported back in December, the stock rose 4% during the following day, according to CNBC.
Some analysts are still bullish, however. This quarter’s average earnings per share (EPS) forecast for Micron implies more than 200% growth from the same quarter last year, according to Yahoo! Finance. That forecast has itself steadily climbed 36% over the past three months.
A Bit of Bearishness
Yet, some are skeptical that Micron really has the earnings power that merits a continued rise in the price of the company’s shares. Looking further into the future, some analysts see annual EPS declining by nearly 27% in 2020. Revenue growth is also expected to decline by about 2% in 2020. (To read more, see: Why Micron’s Stock Bulls May Be Wrong.)
Micron’s margins have risen significantly since 2016 and the fact that the stock no longer trades at its historically cheap earnings multiple demonstrates the investor optimism. But, with forecasts of earnings and revenue falling over the next couple of years, even an earnings beat this quarter may not be enough to keep the stock riding its currently elevated wave.