Shares of Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report were trading up by nearly 2% to about $26 in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, the day before the chipmaker is set to report 2017 second-quarter results after the market close.
According to analysts surveyed by FactSet, the company is expected to report earnings of 69 cents on revenue of $4.63 billion. For the same quarter last year, Micron Technology reported a net loss of 5 cents per share on revenue of $2.93 billion.
Earlier this month, Micron CFO Ernie Maddock positively revised the results for the quarter, projecting earnings well above consensus at 86 cents per share on revenue of $4.65 billion. Previous guidance from the company saw 63 cents per share for the quarter on revenue of $4.53 billion. Credit Suisse said in a note on Wednesday that it sees Micron's financial results hitting at least the new consensus, if not higher.
Shares of the stock are trading up over 125% in the past year. That's because the prices of DRAM and NAND chips have increased due to higher demand, which has helped the company's top and bottom line.
By comparison, Intel (INTC) - Get Report and Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report are both trading up a little over 8% in the past year. Micron's strong performance has led to 21 buy ratings and four hold ratings from analysts, according to data collected by FactSet.
In addition, this past Sunday Intel announced that its previously announced 3D XPoint next-gen memory, devised with Micron, was finally coming to the market. The memory technology will cost less than DRAM, but more than NAND because it will work better than NAND. While this new development won't lead to big sales in the near-term, it could gain traction in several memory end-markets in the longer term, TheStreet's technology columnist Eric Jhonsa said, adding that it provided a middle ground between DRAM and NAND chips.
Since the earnings preannouncement earlier in March, pricing for NAND and DRAM chips has remained strong, JPMorgan analyst Bill Peterson wrote in a note released Tuesday. Micron is also executing well on its manufacturing ramps, leading the firm to see upside to consensus for the 2017 third quarter, due out in May, as well as for the next 12 to 18 months.
While some investors are worried that the strong demand for chips is at or near a cyclical peak, JPMorgan's research suggests that demand should stay strong throughout 2017 due to data center spending, the iPhone 8 cycle, Intel's Skylake server CPU launch, near-seasonal PC demand trends, increasing automobile demand and PC gaming trends. "We believe Micron can drive earnings power higher from here," Peterson wrote. The firm has an overweight rating and $33 price target on the stock.
Credit Suisse raised its price target on Micron to $35 from $30 and reiterated its outperform rating on it in a note released Wednesday morning. The firm expects Micron to issue third quarter guidance of 95 cents per share to $1.05 per share on revenue of $4.71 billion to $5.01 billion.
Like JPMorgan, Credit Suisse sees strong demand for DRAM through year-end and tight demand for NAND at least through the third quarter of the 2017 calendar year. A mix of products should help provide margin cushion, the firm noted. "While pricing trends may begin to level off, even against our upside bit growth, we would expect MU margins to expand throughout the year," the note said.
Deutsche Bank released a note on Tuesday claiming it expects Micron to report earnings and revenue in-line with its preannouncement from early March. Like JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, the firm expects the pricing strength in the NAND and DRAM market to continue. The firm has a buy rating and $28 price target on the stock.