While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) gained 1% in premarket trading Tuesday after Needham & Company upgraded the semiconductor solutions specialist from buy to strong buy.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Rajvindra Gill boosted his price target to $50 (from $40), representing about 60% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Micron's steady climb over the past year, Gill's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its operating challenges are just too difficult to allow for a significant turnaround.
Now what: Needham raised its 2014 EPS estimate for Micron from $2.85 to $3.06 and its 2015 view from $3.00 to $3.40. "We urge investors to look past the temporary NAND [gross margin] hit from these upfront costs and focus on the materially improving NAND GMs that we expect in CH15 as MU benefits from the cost advantages of an increasing mix of 16nm TLC (15-20% discount) and the ramp of its proprietary SSD solutions," said Gill. "In addition, we increase our P/E fwd multiple to 15x as we believe valuation multiples in consolidated industries eventually expand to 15-20x." Given Needham's solid track-record of call-making -- currently ranked in the top 15% of our CAPS community -- enterprising Fools might want to take a closer look at Micron.
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Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.