Tech Today: Sandberg Speaks, Defending Micron, Cheers for OLED

Here are some things going on today in your world of tech :

Chip Stocks Weaker

It's a weak open for Nasdaq, down 28.29 at 7,048.26.

Among decliners, chips stocks are taking it particularly hard.

Shares of programmable chip maker Xilinx (XLNX) are down $2.34, or 3.3%, at $68.36, after J.P. Morgan's Harlan Sur cut his rating on the shares to Underweight from Equal Weight, warning that weaker cellular base station deployments in China this year could hurt sales of its chips. Also, the roll-out of 5G wireless networks won't fully make up for that.

Bully for Micron

One bright spot is memory-chip giant Micron Technology (MU), which is bouncing back after being under pressure following that Sell recommendation yesterday from Timothy Arcuri of UBS.

The stock is up 50 cents at $50.35, and helping the shares is a fairly upbeat endorsement this morning from Instinet's Romit Shah, who reiterates a Buy meeting after spending two days hosting meetings between the newly installed chief financial officer, David Zinsner, and investors.

Among the things Shah learned is that Zinsner "did not seem concerned that NAND ASP declines in the February period would persist," and that the company "continues to expect DRAM suppliers to be rational about capacity expansion in an effort to sustain high margins and cash flow."

Universal Display's Bright Prospects

Another relative bright spot is organic light-emitting diode technology maker Universal Display (OLED) are up $1.77, or 1.8%, at $103.10, after Oppenheimer & Co.'s Andrew Uerkwitz this morning raised his rating on the shares to Outperform from "Perform," writing that the stock is oversold after dropping 41% this year.

Uerkwitz cites what he sees as various "catalysts" for the stock, including China getting into the OLED manufacturing game, and also Universal finally offering a "blue emitter" technology that some have been expecting for awhile.

Facebook's Sandberg Speaks

In the scandal about data privacy engulfing Facebook (FB) in recent weeks, COO Sheryl Sandberg has been somewhat conspicuously absent from the discussion. The Financial Times's Hanna KuchlerThursday snagged an interview with Sandberg. The executive "said she personally made'mistakes'," quotes Kuchler. Facebook "underinvested in safety and security," Sandberg said, adding "we make mistakes and I own them and they are on me."

Sandberg's taking responsibility follows CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday taking responsibility for "mistakes" during a Q&A by phone with reporters.

Facebook stock is down 1 cents at $159.33.

More Amazon Trump-Talk

Another name still under pressure is (AMZN), down $9.86, or 0.6%, at $1,441.89, after President Donald Trump was quoted from a conversation aboard Air Force one, in response to the question whether he wanted policy changes with respect to Amazon, "We're going to take a very serious look at that," as reported by Reuters's Jeff Mason.

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholasthis morning reports that "it's personal" when it comes to Trump and Amazon. Citing unnamed sources, Nicholas describes how Trump rejected briefings from aides and cabinet members who tried to persuade him of different points of view on Amazon.

"It's not the narrative he wants" is how one source described it to Nicholas. "He clearly didn't find it persuasive because he keeps saying it's untrue."

Samsung Faces Slowing Phone Sales

Shares of Samsung Electronics (005930KS) declined by almost 1% in Seoul trading to close at ₩2,420,000, after the company overnight reported Q1 revenue that slightly missed analysts' expectations, but delivered operating profit just a tad better than expected.

Analyst Mehdi Hosseini of Susquehanna Financial writes that it appears chips sales were "strong" for Samsung, particularly, DRAM, and sales of smartphones were helped by the "Galaxy S9" that went on sale in the quarter. But he thinks there will be "limited upside" moving forward because of a "weaker smartphone market," particularly premium segments (GS9, Note)."

Hosseini rates the shares at Neutral, with a target price of ₩2,800,000.

NetApp Rising on Big Capital Plans

Shares of data-storage technology pioneer NetApp (NTAP) are up $1.03, or 1.5%, at $63.93, as analysts raise their price targets following the company's annual meeting with the Street yesterday.

Highlights of that talk were NetApp saying its board of directors authorized an additional share repurchase of $4 billion, and projected earnings growth through 2021 of more than 15% annually, as sales rise by "mid-single digits" on a percentage basis. It also said its free cash flow should expand from 19% to 24% of revenue, and it plans to double its dividend.

Among those responding, Piper Jaffray's Andrew Nowinski reiterates an Overweight rating on the shares, and raises his price target to $75 from $72. Things he took note of were the company's partnership with Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon, which the company expects to be a big asset for its "cloud data services" business. He also notes the company says it is "winning 75% of deals against Dell /EMC." Nowinski is not surprised, as he thinks Dell's product line is "convoluted."

That'Torrid' Cloud Computing

J.P. Morgan analysts Mark Murphy and Doug Anmuth today describe in brief the takeaways from a discussion of cloud computing with JPM clients. The analysts believe there will be " torrid " spending on public cloud computing that will benefit Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google.

The analysts "anticipate [an] acceleration in adoption of public cloud platforms by companies which are already using public cloud as well as cloud laggards," and that will lead to "really enormous growth in cloud spend in the next 12-24 months."

The analysts point out that "across his base of customers 85% of compute remains on-premise, thus we have only seen the'tip of the iceberg' in terms of IaaS adoption, though 30-40% could stay on-premise over time."

Sign up to Review & Preview, a new daily email from Barron's. Every evening we'll review the news that moved markets during the day and look ahead to what it means for your portfolio in the morning.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Technology Videos


    Barron's is a leading source of financial news, providing in-depth analysis and commentary on stocks, investments and how markets are moving across the world.

    Learn More