Western Digital Earnings Spark Positive Analyst Reaction

Western Digital's stock traded higher after its earnings report. It has soared 93% in six months amid strong chip demand during the pandemic.
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Western Digital  (WDC) - Get Report shares rose Friday as the data-storage maker's earnings beat expectations and drew positive reactions from analysts.

The stock recently traded at $72.15, up 1.4%. It has traded on Friday up as much as 5% at a 52-week high $74.70. 

And it has soared 93% in the past six months amid strong chip demand during the pandemic.

As for the analysts, Morgan Stanley’s Joseph Moore rates Western Digital overweight and raised his price target to $88 from $84. 

“Both of WD's markets have turned a corner, as NAND cyclically improves, and WD puts the margin challenges of the 18 TB transition behind them,” he said.

“In the base case, we approach $10-$12 earnings next year, and while that's likely the peak, it still seems likely to drive the stock towards the $100 level.”

Wedbush analyst Matt Bryson has an outperform rating and lifted his price target to $90 from $85.

“WDC's earnings power remains tied to NAND dynamics,” he said. “And in this segment, our thesis continues to play out with our positive view predicated upon our belief that NAND supply/demand dynamics improve into the second half of the year.”

To be sure, J.P. Morgan’s Harlan Sur was more circumspect. He rates the stock neutral, though he boosted his price target to $85 from $68.

“Overall, we still see potential for WDC shares to perform well in the long term. … But we think the stock is now a show-me story and can trade sideways for the next few quarters until NAND pricing/[gross margin] improves.”

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Western Digital may be looking to purchase Japan-based flash memory group Kioxia Holdings.

Meanwhile, TheStreet.com Founder Jim Cramer last week discussed solutions to the chip shortage.