On Tuesday, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) reported improved fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, but with guidance falling below expectations. According to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, this is a reflection of a surge in spending subsequently muting better DRAM pricing trends.
Following the semi-conductor maker’s fiscal fourth-quarter print, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on MU with a price target of $23, which represents a nearly 30% increase from where the shares last closed.
The company brought in revenue this past quarter of $3.22 billion, just topping the Street’s projection of $3.15 billion as well as MU’s positive preannounce, which was guided close to the upper end of $2.9 billion to $3.2 billion. DRAM revenue rose 13% quarter-over-quarter thanks to a considerable boost in volume, and NAND revenues increased 12% quarter-over-quarter on the back of a sustained 3D ramp. However, MU’s gross margin of 18.0% performed just under the Street’s expectations of 18.4%.
MU indicates a pro forma EPS guide of $0.13 to $0.21, but Curtis notes this includes MU’s accounting changes that moving forward will exclude both stock compensation coupled with extended DRAM depreciation from 5 to now 7 years. Not taking these changes into the equation, MU’s fiscal first-quarter EPS guide for 2017 is around $0.04, which hits under the consensus expectation of $0.09, “a bit of a disappointment in a quarter when the company should have significantly beat,” the analyst adds.
Operational expenditures of $611 million mirrored guidance in the range of $580 to $630 million, leading to PF EPS of ($0.05), above the consensus estimate of ($0.12). MU guides revenue to a range of $3.55 to $3.85 billion, ahead of the Street’s estimate of $3.46 billion. Curtis attributes this to “slowing supply growth and improving end market demand are expected continue to boost ASPs and revenue.”
Gross margins of 23% to 25.5% are guided ahead of consensus of 21.6%, with Curtis noting this comes on back of a substantial advantageous edge from the $100 million/quarter benefit Micron gained upon extending the depreciation of DRAM equipment. Additionally, PF EPS is guided to $0.13 to $0.21, considerably over the Street’s projection of $0.09. Yet, the analyst notes PF EPS would have fallen under consensus without MU’s recent accounting changes.
“We are encouraged by the improving DRAM pricing environment, more rational supply behavior, and plans on closing the Inotera acquisition in 1H December but the story is pushed to the right. We will monitor if DRAM pricing will continue to move higher into the end of the year,” Curtis concludes.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Blayne Curtis is ranked #316 out of 4,190 analysts. Curtis has a 64% success rate and realizes 9.8% in his yearly returns. When recommending MU, Curtis yields 42.4% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics exhibit MU as a Buy. Based on 20 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 15 rate a Buy on MU, 3 maintain a Hold, while 2 issue a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $20.07, marking a 13% upside from where the stock is currently trading.