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Micron Could Be a Buy Ahead of Earnings

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's very rare a company can double in share price in a six-month period and still be a mystery to investors.

This puts shares of memory maker Micron Technology (MU) in very exclusive company. In fact, since the stock bottomed at $5.16 on Oct. 24, Micron is up a remarkable 147%. With third-quarter earnings results coming up on Wednesday, investors want to know if they should lock in profits now or stay in.

However, I don't think that's the right question to ask especially since the stock is known for its volatility. Investors still seem unsure of what Micron or its business based on flash memory. Micron's memory business consists of NOR and NAND, non-volatile storage technologies that requires no power to retain data.

Although these two standards share some similarities, they serve different purposes. For instance, in products like MP3 players, which requires higher capacity storage, NAND would be the choice, whereas the speed and efficiency of the NOR platform would be found mobile phones.

While Micron has been credited for having perfected this market, the company has never really been alone. Rivals includnig SanDisk (SNDK) and Applied Materials (AMAT) have proven to be worthwhile competitors. When you throw a dominant power like Samsung into the mix, the space gets crowded pretty quickly.

With weak leverage, Micron began to lose market share to SanDisk and Samsung. Making matters worse was the declining PC, which impacted upon Micron's DRAM or dynamic random access memory, business -- the type often found in personal computers.

Now, despite these many challenges, the fact the stock has been able to post the gains that it has is a testament the company's management team, which has done an excellent job holding the pieces together. This is while the overall industry, which has been commoditized, has posted weak margins due to low average selling prices (ASPs).

With all of that said, there's still quite a bit to prove heading into the company's earnings results. The Street is looking for Micron to report 1 cent in earnings per share on revenue of $2.23 billion. The 1 cent per share may not seem that impressive, but given the fact that Micron reported a loss of 18 cents per share last year, turning a profit would be a pretty significant jump.

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