Micron (MU) Stock’s Risk-Reward Is Relatively Balanced Ahead of Earnings, Says Analyst

Micron’s (NASDAQ:MU) run has been nothing short of miraculous. The stock has surged nearly 50% in 2018 and more than 130% over the last year.

Investors should expect strong quarterly results in line with the preannouncement when the chip giant reports earnings today, says Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore. As for the stock, the analyst sees risk reward as relatively balanced.

As such, Moore reiterates an Equal-weight rating on Micron shares, with a price target of $65, which represents a potential upside of 10% from where the stock is currently trading. (To watch Moore’s track record, click here)

Moore noted, “With the rally in Micron after the analyst day, we believe that the stock is discounting operating margins of 30%+ beyond this peak 50-55% period, which was high enough for us to move to EW. As we wrote in early May, this is our preferred way to look at longer-term valuation. These numbers could be achievable; after all, the company has averaged 19% operating margins in the last five years, and has significantly improved its cost structure; but in our view that leaves little room for error. Still, the potential for multiple expansion is there – while we don’t like focusing on P/E when earnings power it as the extremes as it leads to demonstrably bad decision making at least historically, sometimes investors do, which could lead to short term upside. That combination leaves us on the sidelines.”

“We see small increases in DRAM pricing in calendar 3q, though we see small declines thereafter, and we see NAND prices soft in 3q, with Micron offsets as they continue to penetrate markets such as enterprise NAND,” the analyst added.

Most analysts on the street don’t voice Moore’s neutral forecast for the chip giant, as TipRanks analytics showcase MU as a Buy. Based on 23 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 18 rate a Buy on Micron stock, 4 issue a Hold, while only 1 recommends a Sell on the stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $78.19, marking a nearly 30% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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