Memory prices are rising, to the dismay of computer makers and the delight of semiconductor stocks.
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) prices are up sharply in 2013 – prices remained elevated in part after a fire at SK Hynix damaged plants. The lower supply could set the stage for stocks that supply computer memory and storage products to rise alongside DRAM prices.
Read more from Kapitall Wire: Semiconductor Supplier Merger: What Investors Should Know
DRAM prices rise
Hynix supplies around one-quarter to the DRAM market. This is raising the costs for DDR3, which is memory used for desktops and laptops.
Computer makers are facing price increases of around 33% for memory chips. Since the sweet spot for memory is between 4GB and 8GB, the higher prices should not raise the overall costs for computers.
Stocks respond favorably
Micron (MU) is benefiting greatly from higher memory prices. Shares are up 214% over a 1 year period.
Click on the interactive chart below to see data over time. Sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
And Micron may have room for more upside. Shares are valued at a forward P/E of 11, below that of SanDisk (SNDK) at 13 and 20 for Spansion (CODE). Spansion rose 17% last week after receiving many upgrades from analysts. Needham & Company, for example raised its target price from $15 to $16.
SanDisk is close to a 52-week high, possibly in response to the rising spot DRAM prices.
Looking longer out into the future, DDR4 will have a more significant impact on the memory market. Development of DDR4 will rise next year, and is expected to be faster, while using less power. For now, DDR3 at 1600MHz will limit the performance gap, which may ensure healthy profits in the near-term for memory makers.
Written by Chris Lau.
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