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Technology Beat: Analysts Weigh In on Facebook Inc, Micron Technology Inc, Yahoo! Inc, and Oracle Corporation

Analysts and investors alike are anticipating what the future holds for technology giants Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB), Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) as each of these companies have recently announced plans to improve growth. Here is what analysts are saying:

Facebook Inc

Social media giant Facebook Inc has been investing heavily in many different businesses and projects in an effort to increase future growth. One of the company’s Facebook acquired was Oculus Rift, a virtual reality company. Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in on Facebook on August 18 with the belief that Facebook will be positively impacted by the VR theme over the next three months. As such, the analyst maintains an Overweight rating on Facebook with a $146 price target.

Munster lists three main reasons as to why he thinks the VR theme will boost Facebook shares. The first reason is that “in September Oculus will host a developer conference in LA (Oculus Connect 2) which will address investor questions around the VR use case.” Munster sees the conference as an opportunity for Oculus to “answer one of the biggest questions investors have around VR which is: what are VR’s use cases?” Additionally, the company “will also announce details of their next version of Gear VR (phone driven VR), which was revealed by Oculus’ CTO’s Twitter Account last week.”  Munster also anticipates that Oculus “will announce the launch date for the Oculus Rift.”

The second reason Munster names is his belief that “the consumer version of Oculus (Rift), will be available slightly earlier than investors expect with sales starting in January of next year.” The analyst notes that “Buyside expectations for the Oculus Rift launch are for the second half of Q1 2016, but our industry sources point to the first half of Q1 2016 with pre-orders potentially starting holiday 2015.” Munster claims the extra few weeks “gets Oculus to market in time to take orders for holiday and also compete with the HTC Vive, which is expected to launch in December 2015.”

The final reason Munster lists for why VR will boost Facebook is his “analysis of VR headcount through LinkedIn suggests Facebook is making the most aggressive investment in VR talent which increases our confidence in Facebook’s long term VR position.” The analyst notes that for the “Long term, we believe Oculus has set itself up nicely to be an industry leader with acquisitions of 13th Lab, Nimble VR, Surreal Vision and Pebbles Interfaces. These acquisitions are included in the overall Oculus headcount numbers.”

On average, Gene Munster has a 64% success rate recommending stocks and a +23.5% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. He has rated Facebook 24 times since 2009, earning a +42.8% average return per recommendation.

Out of 38 analysts polled by TipRanks, 35 analysts are bullish on Facebook, 2 are neutral, and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target for Facebook is $110.47, marking a 17.61% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Facebook is Strong Buy.

Micron Technology, Inc.

Semiconductor company Micron Technology, Inc. recently held its annual analyst day in which the company provided updates on the future of its business.

Micron has not had the best year so far, having fallen over 50% year-to-date. As such, investors have been questioning Micron due to concerns over DRAM supply and the impact this has had on its share price.

Micron CEO Mark Durcan acknowledged that the slowdown of PC shipments shook the company, stating, “It really caught a number of us by surprise, but it’s not a cataclysmic cycle.” With that said, Micron is forecasting 25% growth for its DRAM business in 2015 and 24% in 2016.

Micron also sees continued growth within the mobile and enterprise markets driven by diversification of demand. Durcan noted, “It’s created a situation where memory makers have a lot more opportunity to differentiate themselves and their offerings.”

The company believes its recent investments in manufacturing will be another growth driver that will start paying off in 2016. Durcan commented, “We feel pretty good about continuing to invest through these cycles… We believe there is continued growth ahead.” Micron plans to primarily focus its growth efforts on improving its NAND capabilities as the company believes this is more volatile that DRAM.

Analyst reviews were fairly mixed on Micron following the company’s annual analyst day.

On the bright side, Wells Fargo analyst David Wong upgraded his rating on Micron from Underperform to Market Perform on August 17, but lowered his valuation range on the stock from $17-$20 down to $16-$19. While the upgrade seems like a positive move, it only stemmed from the fact that the stock is now trading within its valuation range and that it represents “a more realistic view of the improved business conditions in the memory industry.”

On average, David Wong has a 64% success rate recommending stocks and a +10.3% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. The analyst has rated Micron 18 times total, earning a 69% success rate recommending the company and a +17.3% average return per recommendation.

On the other hand, Piper Jaffray analyst Ruben Roy reiterated an Overweight rating on Micron on August 17 with a price target of $25, noting that 2016 looks to be a “much better year for the company.”

Overall, Ruben Roy has a 44% success rate recommending stocks and a +3.4% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. He has rated Micron 13 times, earning a 14% success rate recommending the stock and a -21.8% average loss per recommendation.

Out of 26 analysts polled by TipRanks within the past three months, 17 analysts are bullish on Micron, 8 are neutral, and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target for Micron is $27.00, marking a 56.79% potential upside from where the stock last closed.

Yahoo! Inc.

Yahoo! Inc. has been reaping the benefits from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) ever since Alibaba released a record-breaking IPO in September 2014. Yahoo announced plans earlier this year to spin off its stake in Alibaba into an independent investment company called SpinCo by Q4 2015.

At first, analysts hoped this move would allow Yahoo to focus on growing its core business while giving value back to shareholders. However, it seems that Alibaba has been more of a burden than an asset to Yahoo ever since the IRS announced that it is considering taxing spin offs beginning in May. Additionally, the Chinese economy began plummeting towards the end of June, resulting in huge hit to Alibaba’s valuation.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali lowered his price target on Alibaba from $110 to $95 after the company missed second quarter earnings expectations earlier this month. Squali proceeded to lower his price target on Yahoo from $62 to $56 today to reflect his adjustment on Alibaba’s price target, though he reiterated a Buy rating on the stock.

The analyst believes “that the implied tax rate for the spin-off shares is likely excessive (management is targeting tax-free status), and BABA’s fair value likely to be well in excess of its current $75/share.”

Squali notes, “To match today’s YHOO share price, BABA’s spin off needs to be taxed at 38% (consistent with the first tranche sold in 2012), and no further upside in BABA’s share price would be expected (currently trading at ~$75/sh vs. our $95 PT). We believe this is a very bearish scenario, offering a meaningful margin of safety for patient investors.”

On average, Youssef Squali has a 61% success rate recommending stocks and a +19.4% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark.

Out of 24 analysts polled by TipRanks within the past 3 months, 19 analysts are bullish on Yahoo and 5 are neutral. The average 12-month price target for Yahoo is $53.47, marking a 49.82% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Yahoo is Moderate Buy.

Oracle Corporation

Oracle Corporation has been trying to expand its cloud computing efforts in order to offset declining sales in software licenses.

The company posted its fourth quarter earnings results back in June and missed estimates on both the top and bottom line. Many have been cutting the company some slack with the belief that its cloud transition is still in early stages.

One analyst is not so bullish, however. Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard weighed in on Oracle today, maintaining a Neutral rating on the stock with a $42 price target. The analyst noted, “After lackluster 4Q15 results, we take a more detailed pass at some of the controversies around ORCL’s numbers. We have mixed conclusions and therefore aren’t able to get incremental conviction the current spate of investor concerns will be resolved soon.”

While Pritchard acknowledges that Oracle offers enticing incentives and discounts, it is unclear if they have made an impact on the license-cloud transition. Additionally, the analyst sees SaaS/PaaS declining further and will only stabilize by the end of 2016. Pritchard noted, “Street revenue estimates for SaaS / PaaS looks conservative for FY16 given FY15 reported new ARR and guidance for FY16.”

On a positive note, Pritchard comments, “While shares have underperformed, we note that numbers have come down while stock has retained P/E at high-end of trading history.”

On average, Walter Pritchard has a 67% success rate recommending stocks and a +13.7% average return per recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark.

Out of 18 analysts polled by TipRanks, 10 analysts are bullish on Oracle and 8 are neutral. The average 12-month price target for Oracle is $46.47, marking a 16.67% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Oracle is Moderate Buy.