When CNBC’s Jim Cramer listened to Micron Technology’s conference call, he found himself considerably less skeptical about the chipmaker’s fate than most of the analysts.
“I’m a believer,” the “Mad Money” host said Thursday. “I’m out on a limb here.”
But, he admitted, “I think it’s worth the risk.”
Micron, which makes flash memory and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips that are used in a range of technologies like smartphones and personal computers, reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday.
The results came in above Wall Street’s estimates, driven by strong demand and controlled supply in Micron’s end markets, which include the data storage and cloud computing industries.
Shares of Micron ended Thursday’s trading session up 0.83 percent, at $59.44 a share.
But on the conference call, in which the company raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to roughly $3.30 a share versus estimates of $3.22, Cramer felt palpable negativity.
“The analysts, almost to a person, expressed tremendous skepticism about Micron’s end markets,” he said. “They still seem to believe that what matters is the personal computer, long the dominant end market, and one that’s perceived as having no growth.”
“Forget that HP Inc. … just put through another buyback that could amount to more than 10 percent of its shares precisely because the PC business is so strong,” he continued. “The PC ain’t bad, but all of Micron’s other businesses are growing much faster.”
Analysts also riffed on the age-old notion that Micron’s chips are commodities, making them subject to volatile boom-and-bust swings that could weigh on the business.
“Micron took pains to say, over and over again, that its chips are anything but commodities now, that they’re solutions. That seems to fall on deaf ears,” Cramer said.
The “Mad Money” host insisted that both DRAM and flash chips are seeing healthy, secular demand as data and devices become more needed than ever.
He also listed Micron’s other strengths: a better balance sheet than he has ever seen with over $2.2 billion in free cash flow; an organized plan to reduce debt; an impending $10 billion buyback and, for investors’ purposes, a wildly cheap stock.
Based on the latest estimates, Micron is currently “the lowest, cheapest stock in the S&P 500,” Cramer said. “How much more is that earnings power worth to you if it’s coming from the most complicated cellphones or the amazing data centers that support the cloud and artificial intelligence?”
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Source: Tech CNBC
Cramer goes out on a limb in support of chipmaker Micron