After being dead money for most of April on fears of slowing smartphone demand, Micron's stock has exploded 11% this week on the back of a well-received investor day Monday. The star of the show: Micron's massive new $10 billion stock buyback plan. Most on the Street were banking on a new buyback in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion, at least based on TheStreet's observations.
Why is the market so excited about Micron's cash giveaway? It's likely to materially reduce the number of Micron shares outstanding in 2019, which could send the stock through the roof if demand doesn't cool too much.
Credit Suisse ran the numbers on how material the profit boost could be:
"Relative to our FY19 free cash flow estimate of $10.2 billion, we estimate that Micron could repurchase at least ~75 million shares - implying potential EPS accretion of 50 cents NOT embedded in our FY19 EPS estimate of $11.50. Additional debt reduction that could add ~20 cents to yearly EPS."
That nets out to about 70 cents in earnings (buyback impact plus debt reduction) that many on Wall Street hadn't factored into their geeky spreadsheets. Despite the surge in Micron's stock, shares still only change hands at a ridiculously cheap six times forward analyst estimates. Apply a more reasonable multiple of 15 times (about the average for semis nowadays) to Micron's earnings in 2019 that could top $12 a share (Wall Street currently projects about $9.85 a share), and one has a stock that may be worth $180.
Using more conservative estimates, Micron's stock could still be worth in the $100 to $110 range.
Micron shares closed at $59 and change on Tuesday.