MKM Spotlights Micron Technology, Inc. (MU), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) Ahead of F4Q:16 Report and Following Investor Meetings

MKM analysts impart overviews on chip maker Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) and Chinese online retail giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE:BABA), in light of upcoming fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results and on back of investor meetings with management, respectively. Let’s take a closer look:

Micron Technology Inc.

Micron Technology is set to deliver quarterly earnings on October 4th. Ahead of earnings and with an “up-cycle underway,” MKM top analyst Ian Ing reiterates a Buy rating on shares of MU with a $21 price target, which represents just under a 20% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Additionally, Ing boosts fourth-quarter estimates for 2016 as well as fiscal estimates for 2017 as a reflection of encouraging trends on the rise in both memory pricing as well as recent commentary noted at rival meetings.

The analyst notes, “In recent weeks, analyst estimates have closed some of the gap with our view on stronger fundamentals.” From recent conferences, Ing points to key highlights noting better market conditions, projected positive non-GAAP EPS for the fiscal year of 2016 (August), and fiscal year of 2017 capital expenditure guidance of $5 billion, falling below the current year forecast of $5.0 to $5.5 billion.

Ing advises, “Investors should note that MU implicitly signals a slowdown in NAND cost declines, resulting in two-year targets closer to the more modest end of down 20%-30%/Y (FY15- FY17).”

“We think DRAM has finally achieved a period of supply-demand balance, following several quarters of disciplined bit output by Samsung (Not Rated), SK Hynix (Not Rated), and Micron. At this point, we see a virtuous cycle where favorable pricing (contract and spot) allows suppliers to loosen output constraints without oversupplying the market,” Ing contends.

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Ian Ing has achieved a high ranking of #52 out of 4,183 analysts. Ing upholds a 74% success rate and garners 23.7% in his annual returns. When recommending MU, Ing earns 32.9% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate MU as a Buy. Based on 20 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 15 rate a Buy on MU, 4 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $18.60, marking a nearly 6% upside from where the shares last closed.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Last week, MKM analyst Rob Sanderson hosted investor meetings with Alibaba’s management, and on the heels of these conferences remains “enthusiastically bullish on BABA.”

In reaction, Sanderson reiterates a Buy rating on BABA with a price target of $130, which represents a 23% increase from where the shares last closed.

When assessing top-25 institutions in the context of involvement in U.S.-based Internet “mega-caps,” Sanderson underscores “all but one is underweight BABA,” pointing to the June 30 filing. In fact, the leading six funds all fall vastly underweight in juxtaposition against BABA.

From Sanderson’s perspective, there are palpable parallels with social media giant Facebook when looking at both post initial public offering “disappointment” and “recovery,” particularly as monetization has “turned” for Alibaba. Much like FB, the analyst sees a considerable jump in advertiser demand and recognizes BABA leadership has strategically opted to monetize this. As such, “a lengthy monetization ramp lies ahead,” Sanderson believes.

The analyst notes, “As the stock has been a strong performer over the past several weeks and is approaching post-IPO highs, we have been asked many times ‘who is the incremental buyer’? A simple analysis of holdings across the top-25 investors in the internet sector suggests that BABA is significantly underweight vs. peers (based on June 30 filings).”

Ultimately, “We think BABA should be and will become a core holding for large cap growth managers and anticipate a lengthy cycle of re-rating ahead for the stock,” Sanderson concludes.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Rob Sanderson is ranked #918 out of 4,183 analysts. Sanderson has a 62% success rate and yields 3.2% in his yearly returns. When recommending BABA, Sanderson gains 23.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate BABA as a Strong Buy. Based on 23 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 21 rate a Buy on BABA, while 2 maintain a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $112.47, marking a nearly 7% upside from where the stock is currently trading.


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