While new market expansion and acquisitions are expected to play out well, differing revenue structures and supply/demand concerns could have an unfavorable effect on earnings. Here’s what to watch for this week from AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS), Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY).
AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA)
AEterna Zenaris will release earnings on Tuesday, March 29 after market close. For the fourth quarter, analysts are expecting revenues of $450,000 and a loss of ($1.30) per share, compared to revenues of $11,000 and earnings of $0.06 per share from the same quarter of last year.
Analysts will be watching for any updates regarding Zoptrext, the company’s lead product currently in phase 3 testing for women with advanced metastic endometrial cancer. The study should be completed by 3Q16 and depending on the results, the company could file an NDA and MAA with the FDA in 2017. In the fourth quarter, the company expressed interest in developing the drug in international markets. CEO David Dodd stated, “We continue discussions with others about adding to our portfolio of promoted products and about the commercial rights to and development of Zoptrex™ in markets outside the United States.”
Analysts will also be watching for updates on the company’s prostate cancer test APIFINY, co-promoted with Armune BioSciences. AEterna Zenaris will earn commissions based on the number of tests performed in the U.S., however analysts believe the uptake may be slow. Following this announcement in early December, analyst Neil Maruoka of Canaccord Genuity weighed in on the company with a Speculative Buy rating and $13 price target on December 2, 2015. He stated, “We believe APIFINY is a nice incremental addition to Æterna‘s portfolio, and should be complementary to Zoptrex (currently in a Phase III study in endometrial cancer) by providing the company’s existing sales force with exposure to the oncology market.” The analyst continued, “Æterna Zentaris estimates >200,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the US during 2015. This market is a decent size; however, with ~2,500 orders of APIFINY during its first 8 months, we expect market penetration and ramp-up to be slow moving forward.”
According to TipRanks, only one analyst rated the company in the past 3 months with a Buy rating and $11 price target, marking a 23% upside from where shares last closed.
Micron Technology, Inc.
Micron is expected to post Q2:16 earnings on Wednesday, March 30 after market close. For this quarter, analysts are expecting revenues of $3.05 billion and a loss of ($0.08) per share, compared to revenues of $4.17 billion and earnings of $0.81 per share for the same quarter of last year.
Analysts will be watching for the effects of DRAM oversupply on revenues, as major competitors Samsung and SK Hynix are maintaining production levels despite weak demand due to overall slowing PC sales. As a result, Micron is focused more on mobile DRAM, as well as flash memory 2D to 3D NAND technology. However, after posting a 13% y/y decline in mobile sales last quarter, analysts believe DRAM in mobile may not be enough to drive growth going forward. The unfavorable DRAM and NAND supply/demand ratio is also driving pricing pressure, which is expected to hurt profitability.
After meeting with DRAM suppliers last month, analyst Romit Shah of Nomura Holdings downgraded MU to “Reduce” from “Neutral” and decreased his price target to $8 from $11 on March 7, 2016. Shah explains that for semiconductor companies, “the focus is not maximizing profits. It’s market share.” He continued, “DRAM demand is weak across all end markets, including PCs, mobile and servers. Prisoner’s dilemma: Supply growth is accelerating as Micron, Hynix and Samsung per our understanding have no intention of bringing down utilization.” He also stated that “Until supply cuts transpire (with Samsung being the key), the market will remain vastly oversupplied as average sales-price erosion is setting up to be greater in 2016.”
Betsy van Hees of Wedbush also weighed in on Micron pre-earnings, reiterating a Hold rating on the company and lowering her price target to $10.50 on March 24, 2016. She expects DRAM to only decline, which will weigh heavily on Micron earnings. The analyst explains, “We believe the greater-than-expected declines in PC DRAM spot prices, memory oversupply, weak end market demand, and continued pricing pressure in SSDs will weigh on MU’s FQ2 results and outlook for FQ3.”
According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of the 12 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 8 gave a Buy rating, 1 gave a Sell rating, and 3 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $14.36, marking a 37% upside from where shares last closed.
Blackberry is set to release its Q4:16 earnings on Friday, April 1 before market open. Analysts are expecting revenues of $563.18 million for the quarter and a loss of ($0.09) per share, compared to revenues of $660 million and a loss of ($0.05) per share for the same quarter of last year.
For this quarter, analysts will be watching for the effects of the company’s various acquisitions and partnerships, as well as the elimination of software licensing fees as indicated in the last earnings report. In addition to Good Technology, acquired last quarter for $425 million, the company recently closed its acquisition of U.K. based cyber security firm Encryption Limited. Analysts are expecting BlackBerry to provide further details about the acquisition and the subsequent launch of Professional Cybersecurity Services practice, which addresses several types of cyber-security needs. Analysts are also looking for more information regarding its QNX segment, which this quarter announced a technology partnership to develop an autonomous driving system, as well as the incorporation of its open source smart device technology in Ford vehicles, which allows drivers to stay connected to smartphone apps while safely driving.
Analyst Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity weighed in on the company on January 12, 2016, maintaining a Hold rating with an $8 price target. The analyst believes the company will have “another strong quarter of software sales growth with a full quarter of the Good and Athoc acquisitions.” However, he predicts “a challenging road of ramping organic software growth to meaningfully replace the series decline over the next several years.” Through FY2018, the analyst claims “the continued steep decline in high margin services business and ongoing tepid hardware sales will remain a headwind to meaningful profitability.”
According to TipRanks, 2 analysts weighed in on the company in the past 3 months, both with a Hold rating. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $7.50, marking a 1% downside from where shares last closed.