The rout rages on.
Micron Technology Inc. (MU) shares fell sharply Wednesday after Goldman Sachs analysts lowered their rating on the chipmaker and slashed their price target to $50 a share just days before the group's fourth quarter earnings release.
Goldman analyst Mark Delaney cut his rating on the stock to neutral from buy while lowering the price target buy 26% to $50 amid what he sees as declining gross margins and weakness in sales of DRAM, which accounts for over three-quarters of its gross profit, and NAND chips. He also pegs his own 2019 earnings forecast well below the market consensus and
Micron shares were marked 5.3% lower in the opening 30 minutes of trading Wednesday to change hands at $41.27 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to just 1% and value the Boise, Idaho-based tech group at just under $48.5 billion.
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If the declines hold, the stock will slide into bear market territory, a condition which applies to an asset that has fallen 20% from a recent peak: Micron shares have fallen 17.4% since August 30 amid concern that the $121 billion memory chip market is heading into an unprecedented slowdown.
Research firm TrendForce recently noted that PC DRAM contract prices were flat in August, and HP Enterprise (HPE) stated on its Aug. 28th earnings call that DRAM price increases "appear to have peaked."
And although Apple's (AAPL) fall iPhone ramp and broader seasonal strength could still prop up DRAM prices in the near-term, it's not hard to imagine a moderate price decline by early 2019.
Micron will publish its fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Sept. 20, with analysts expecting earnings of around $3.30 per share from sales of $8.22 billion.