In less than a decade, consumer demand for a lightning fast Internet has changed everything. From e-commerce, social media to web search and more, this massive Internet use can cause latency, and the goal of the top tech companies in the space is to break up the bottleneck. With hyperscale customers wanting to access websites fast, time is of the essence — or they give up and go elsewhere. Storage is what makes up the bottleneck, and NAND Flash significantly reduces latency versus hard disk drives.
In a new research report from the technology team at UBS, analysts point out that the explosion of large, unstructured data and the use and benefits of analytics, can sometimes put unbearable pressure on storage infrastructure. NAND flash technology is solving these latency problems, and UBS recommends to buy the top technology stocks that are at the forefront of the technology.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) is a top technology stock and has absolutely been on fire for the past year. The company, which is a leader in DRAM chip sales, is one of Wall Street’s top picks in memory chips. With the bar set very high, the stock again delivered numbers that Wall Street applauded. The demand for memory chips is expected to increase steadily over the next five years. Micron is estimating 20%-30% yearly increases in DRAM demand, and 30%-40% increases for NAND, so the future looks very bright for this top company. The UBS target for the stock is $35, and the consensus is at $38.69. Micron closed Friday at $30.04.
EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) shares have rallied recently on news that Paul Singer’s activist hedge fund Elliott Management has accumulated a stake worth more than $1 billion in the storage giant. Many think the activist play is an attempt to spin off and monetize the huge position in cloud software giant VMware (NYSE: VMW) in an attempt to provide additional value for shareholders. While the stake is significant, Elliott Management certainly can’t dictate terms to EMC at this point. The storage giant pays shareholders a 1.7% dividend. UBS has a $33 price target for the stock. The Thomson/First Call consensus price objective is at $32.03. EMC closed Friday at $29.09.
Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ: LRCX) is a top chip equipment stock to buy now at UBS. The company designs, manufactures, markets, refurbishes and services semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. The company offers plasma etch products that remove materials from the wafer to create the features and patterns of a device. Many Wall Street analysts have highlighted the company and its peers as having a significant equipment opportunity from the NAND evolution. Investors are paid a 1.1% dividend yield. The UBS price target for the stock is $77. The consensus target is slightly higher at $78.55. Lam Research closed Friday at $68.33.
Nimble Storage Inc. (NYSE: NMBL) made its IPO debut back in December of last year. After doubling, at one point it was crushed back below the original offering price. Nimble has developed a hybrid storage architecture engineered from the ground up to seamlessly integrate flash and high-capacity drives. This is yet another huge leap in storage technology that many people who need more capacity than older enterprise systems have been embracing. UBS has a very big $40 price target on the stock, and the consensus is at $37.06. Shares closed Friday at $26.37. A trade to the UBS target would be more than a 50% gain for investors.
SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of flash memory storage drives. The burgeoning demand for SanDisk’s products and the increase in price of its micro SD cards contributed to the rise in margins. Most mobile phone manufacturers now provide a card slot in their devices, leading to increased demand for memory cards. Customers looking to store more data have led to the growth of micro SD cards, pushing up demand in the process. The SanDisk alliance with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), which placed major NAND flash orders with SanDisk, is increasing the odds the company will continue to be among the leaders dominating flash memory storage. Investors are paid a 0.9% dividend yield. The UBS price target is placed at $120, while the consensus is lower at $113.39. SanDisk closed on Friday at $91.43.
Samsung’s announcement that it already moved to its third generation 3D NAND flash technology (32 layers three bits per cell) has stunned many on Wall Street and in the industry. And while 3D implementation remains challenging, the technology is heading that way. Flash memory is one of the fastest growing tech sub-sectors, and aggressive growth investors need to find a portfolio slot for it.