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Micron (MU): Next Stop, $80?

TipRanks
·2 min read

Things are looking up for Micron (MU). The memory chip giant appears on a strong uptrend in 4Q20, sharply reversing the year’s earlier woes; Shares up by 49% since the start of the quarter.

With 2021 at the gate, Raymond James analyst Chris Caso expects the trend to continue. So much so, the 5-star analyst raised his price target from $65 to $80. Accordingly, Caso’s rating stays a Strong Buy. (To watch Caso’s track record, click here)

So, what’s fueling Caso’s optimism?

The analyst explained, “The bottom line is that costs for both DRAM and NAND will be better than the cost reduction from the past few years, driven by the 1-alpha DRAM node, and 2nd generation replacement gate NAND, which will deliver cost reduction that was absent this year on the first generation. If indeed 2021 is a recovery year, as we expect, these cost reductions will act as a margin tailwind, and could potentially drive significant leverage.”

Caso’s endorsement echoes recent commentary from Micron; On Monday, the company updated its roadmap and restated its plan to keep supply roughly correlated to the level of demand while continuing its focus on growing penetration for its top-value products.

The company also updated the DRAM roadmap and stated that the new 1-alpha node should display a 15% power improvement and improve density by 40% when compared to the present 1Z node.

“These are incrementally new details that set up a more favorable cost environment beginning next year,” Caso said.

On the NAND side, Micron has successfully completed the move to replacement gate (RG) architecture, marking the company as the first to bring to market 176-layer NAND. The transition should provide “substantially improved data transfer rates and a ~2x improvement in power performance versus 96-layer.”

Further bolstering the bull case, the company also boosted its F1Q21 guidance; Micron's revenue forecast at the midpoint now stands at $5.73 billion, compared to the prior $5.2 billion. MU's adjusted earnings estimate is also getting a boost, from $0.47 per share to $0.71 per share.

On Wall Street, most agree with Caso’s thesis. Based on 17 Buys, 4 Holds and 1 Sell, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. However, given the recent surge and based on the $70.05 average price target, MU shares are poised to stay range-bound for now. (See Micron stock analysis on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.