Semiconductor kingpins Nvidia (NVDA) and Micron (MU), which have posted respective 12-month returns of 210% and 150%, could soon have some company in the nose-bleed section in the area of stock gains.
Although Marvell Technology (MRVL), a designer of storage and networking controller microchips, rarely gets media attention, the company’s investors have enjoyed almost 30% year-to-date gains and 74% returns in 12 months. And fresh of the heels of its breathtaking first quarter earnings report last week, analysts now have no choice but to take notice as MRVL stock is now trading at six-year highs.
MRVL stock closed Friday at $ 17.67, surging as much 5% to a new 52-week high of $ 17.76 on one more than three times its normal volume. The reason? Marvell, which has — over the past couple of years — enacted a CEO change and massive restructuring, including cutting nearly 20% of its workforce, posted a beat on the top and bottom lines for the first quarter and upped its outlook for the second quarter.
For the quarter that ended April, the Bermuda-based company reported revenue of $ 579.2 million, which rose 12% year over year, while reporting adjusted EPS (from continuing operations) of 24 cents per share. Not only did EPS beat consensus estimates by 3 cents, it marked a whopping 700% from the same period last year. Gross margin also grew from 52.9% to 60.2% year over year, thanks to favorable product mix and higher revenue base.
During this quarter, Marvell’s bread-and-butter storage business — solid-state drive (SSD) controller chips and controller chips for PC and server storage subsystems — saw revenue rise 25%. And despite the SSD business climbing by triple digits, and are now expected to make up 30% of storage revenue in the second half of the year, Marvell sees no signs of slowing down.
In terms of the outlook for the second quarter, the company expects to EPS to be in the range of 26 cents to 30 cents and revenues between $ 585 million and $ 615 million. Both measures topped the consensus estimates of 25 cents in EPS and $ 591.67 million in revenue. Analyst were quick to revise their estimates higher, which sent MRVL stock higher too. Oppenheimer upgraded MRVL to Outperform from Perform with a price target of $ 23. Susquehanna, meanwhile, upgraded Marvell stock to “Pop Pick” status and raised its target to $ 25 from $ 22.
Why are analysts bullish? Aside from being a leader in solid-state storage controllers like Micron, Marvell — like Nvidia — is also attacking growth markets such as automotive computing. Carmakers across Asia, Europe, and the U.S. have already added Marvell components to many auto models in development.
And given the fact that Marvell’s three main core segments are already rising on a year-over-year basis, MRVL stock — especially with highs gross margins — are on track to reach $ 25 by the end of the year, delivering 40% additional returns. If that doesn’t put it the category of Nvidia and Micron category, I don’t know what will.
At the time of publication, the author held shares of Marvell.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.