With Western Digital,No Need to Fear Flash Crash
December 23, 2017
Flash-memory prices, after a double-digit gain this year, are expected to fade in 2018. That has worried investors in Western Digital, which has the third-lowest price/earnings ratio in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
But bulls argue that the stock, trading around $81, is too cheap and could have upside of as much as 50%. They contend the price declines in the market for flash memory will be moderate next year.
Flash memory, or NAND, is used in cellphones, Fitbit and other wearables, laptop computers, cloud computing, and a raft of industrial products. It’s Western Digital’s critical product, accounting for an estimated 50% of revenue, 60% of profit, and virtually all of its growth. The company is also a producer of hard-disk drives.
Western Digital (ticker: WDC) trades for 6.1 times projected earnings of $13.35 a share in its fiscal year ending in June 2018 and for 6.8 times estimated profits of $12.15 in its June 2019 fiscal year. It pays a dividend of 2.4%. The only two stocks with lower 2018 P/E ratios in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are fellow memory producer Micron Technology (MU) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK), a highly leveraged oil and natural-gas company.