Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) is scheduled to report its fiscal fourth quarter financial results after the markets close on Thursday. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $0.33 in earnings per share (EPS) on $3.56 million in revenue. The same period from the previous year saw $0.82 in EPS on $4.23 billion in revenue.
24/7 Wall St. has tracked two very positive analyst research calls ahead of the report. While the ratings are positive here, there are some caveats and some lowered numbers that investors should really consider. After all, following the drop that has been seen in Micron, a “good report” might not sound all that good when that report finally gets issued.
Credit Suisse has an Outperform rating but talked its expectations down to well under the consensus estimates. Wells Fargo decided to raise its formal rating to Outperform from Market Perform due to valuations, but it also trimmed some of its own earnings expectations.
Credit Suisse noted that the 2015 DRAM market continues to be plagued by weaker demand, more than offsetting what has traditionally been predictable and benign supply growth. The firm lowered its unit growth expectations, but DRAM Bit supply growth expectations were left unchanged at 25% from a year ago. The firm believes this is a bottoming process fundamentally and that this is near troughs on valuation, but it expects weakness near term before two meaningful catalysts in 2015.
As mentioned, Wells Fargo’s formal analyst rating was raised to Outperform from Market Perform. The firm sees upside potential from the current stock price to its valuation range, but the ongoing slide in DRAM pricing has led it to lower expectations on sales and earnings.
Wells Fargo detailed in its report:
Although we believe that there are many near terms risks for Micron in particular and the memory industry in general, we believe that memory industry financial dynamics have improved in recent years, with some amount of consolidation in the DRAM industry (e.g. the dissolution of Qimonda and the acquisition of Elpida by Micron) and efforts on the part of the major DRAM and NAND manufacturers to improve margins and capital efficiency. Over the last two years, Micron has demonstrated a clear ability to generate profits and cash, in our view.
A few other analysts recently weighed in on Micron prior to earnings:
- Deutsche Bank reiterated a Buy rating with a $28 price target.
- Cowen has a Market Perform rating and lowered the price target to $25 from $28.
- Sterne Agee CRT reiterated a Buy rating.
- Morgan Stanley reiterated an Equal Weight rating.
Shares of Micron were up 3.8% at $14.92 on Wednesday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $25.42 and a 52-week trading range of $13.50 to $36.59.