Can Micron Keep Up This Growth Through Q4 and Beyond?

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Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) is scheduled to release its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets close on Tuesday. This company was an incredible growth story just a few years ago but since then it stopped growing and started sinking, until this year. Over the course of this year, Micron has made incredible strides, and in just the past six months alone the stock is up over 60%. With its fiscal year-end earnings on the way, many are wondering whether Micron can keep up this growth.

The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are a net loss of $0.12 per share on $3.15 billion in revenue. In the same period of the previous year, the company posted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.37 and $3.6 billion in revenue.

Shares of Micron have been in recovery mode. Much of the gain comes from expectations rather than from proven major recovery. That is what often happens in turnaround stocks. Investors need to recall that the stock market often discounts turnaround news for 12 months, or even out to a range of 18 to 24 months in some cases.

Considering the growth in recent history, now it is indicating sustained momentum going into its fiscal first quarter. Prices have firmed for both DRAM and NAND chips after a major demand slump.

Credit Suisse said in its most recent report:

In addition, now Micron also expects pricing momentum to continue into the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 and, per our analysis, should pricing remain flat we see 20-cents to 25-cents of upside to Street (consensus estimate) at $0.04. Relative to trends, Micron noted: its key mobile customer qualifications have been completed, average selling prices have improved, demand continues to be robust (PC stable), inventory is lean, and industry supply is slowing.

A few other analysts weighed in on Micron ahead of the earnings report:

  • Nomura reiterated a Buy rating with a $23 price target.
  • Susquehanna has a Buy rating and raised its price target to $20 from $18.
  • MKM Partners reiterated a Buy rating with a $21 price target.
  • Sanford Bernstein reiterated a Neutral rating with an $18 price target.
  • Mizuho reiterated a Buy rating with a $20 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank reiterated a Buy rating with a $20 price target.
  • Pacific Crest reiterated an Equal Weight rating.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating with an $18 price target.
  • Cowen has an Outperform rating with a $19 price target.

So far in 2016, Micron has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up about 25%. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up only 20%.

Shares of Micron were trading at $17.78 on Monday, with a consensus analyst price target of $18.71 and a 52-week trading range of $9.31 to $19.30.