How the Seagate Earnings Win Props Up Western Digital

Chris Lange

Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. As a result, the company saw its shares make a solid gain, and rival Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) saw a small uptick as well.

Last week, Western Digital dropped on its most recent earnings report, but since then it has made somewhat of a recovery. Ultimately, investors were wanting more out of the SanDisk merger that was finalized last May. However, these overly positive Seagate earnings could signal a rising tide in the industry, further boosting Western Digital in the process.

Seagate said that it had $0.69 in earnings per share (EPS) on $2.7 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for EPS of $0.60 and $2.64 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, $0.77 in EPS on revenue of $2.93 billion were posted.

The company’s board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.63 per share, which will be payable on October 5, 2016, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on September 21, 2016.

Steve Luczo, Seagate’s board chair and chief executive, commented on earnings:

I am proud of our resilient operational performance and financial discipline through the dynamic technology shifts taking place in our industry. I am confident of the Company’s long-term sustainability and prosperity in a world of significant data creation and high-capacity storage demand driven by emerging technologies, and cloud infrastructure deployments. We believe we have the leading storage technology product portfolio, technology roadmap and operational leverage to ensure we are well-positioned for long-term success and shareholder value.

During the fourth quarter, Seagate generated $269 million in operating cash flow and paid cash dividends of $188 million. On the books, its cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $1.13 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $2.49 billion in the same period from last year.

Shares of Seagate were last seen up about 3% at $33.36 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $27.19 and a 52-week trading range of $18.42 to $52.59.

Western Digital traded up 2% to $47.06, within a 52-week range of $34.99 to $86.39. The consensus price target is $60.75.