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Why Micron Stock Popped Today

By Rich Smith – Oct 25, 2021 at 11:26AM

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Analysts are dueling over Micron's prospects.

What happened

Shares of computer memory maker Micron Technology (MU 3.58%) enjoyed an unexpected upsurge in Monday morning trading -- unexpected because much of the news on Micron today is negative. Multiple analysts downgraded the stock, cut its price target, or warned of production cuts -- or some combination of the three -- but as StreetInsider.com reported today, one analyst in particular argues that Micron stock could defy the bad news and double in price.

Shares of Micron are up 2.5% as of 10:40 a.m. EDT.

Rising red stock arrow representing a stock going up drawn on a yellow background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

But let's start with the bad news. According to TheFly.com, this morning analysts at Bernstein initiated coverage of Micron with an underperform (i.e., sell) rating on worries that a "downcycle" in computer memory demand and pricing has begun, and that it will extend through late 2022, limiting the stock's upside potential. Echoing those fears, Cleveland Research warned of "softer" average selling prices for DRAM memory in the November quarter, and predicted a similar decline in demand for and pricing of NAND memory in Q1.

Topping this all off, Evercore ISI speculated that a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan over the weekend may have hurt Micron's Taoyuan facility, which churns out one-third of the company's DRAM chips.

Now what

That's the bad news. Now here's the good: Defying all this negativity above, Needham & Co. just put out a report praising Micron's plan to spend $150 billion increasing its production capacity over the next 10 years.

While some analysts fear that such a large investment will result in massive oversupply for production capacity in the memory market, Needham argues that "Micron's capacity would rise at [only] a CAGR of 2.1% over the next 10 years." And given "robust ... demand for DRAM and NAND ... thanks to secular drivers such as 5G and the proliferation of AI," the analyst doesn't think this small rate of capacity expansion will be enough to drown the market in memory chips and crash memory prices.

To the contrary, Needham argues that Micron is making the right move at the right time -- and that its stock could nearly double to $130 a share within a year because of it.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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