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Micron, chips off on DRAM price frets
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Old 3rd March 2005, 23:37   #1
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Default Micron, chips off on DRAM price frets

Weak pricing for some memory chips, expected to continue through late summer, and increasing supply are responsible for Merrill's decision.

To be sure, prices for dynamic random access memory chips, or DRAM, on the spot market have been much weaker than expected since the Chinese New Year, according to Merrill Lynch analysts. March spot prices for some chips already reflect a 30 percent price slump since January, they said.

Merrill Lynch analysts said they believe this is the start of a longer period of DRAM weakness that will carry through the second and third quarters.

Analysts at Merrill Lynch also downgraded South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor (HXSEY) and Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor (PWSMF) - both pure-play DRAM players - to "neutral" from "buy" to reflect the more conservative pricing outlook.

They were, however, more upbeat on prospects for South Korea's Samsung Electronics (SSNLF). They maintained a "buy" on Samsung, saying they remain positive on its segment of the flash memory market and its other businesses.

In Europe, Merrill Lynch analyst Andrew Griffin cut his earnings estimates for Germany's Infineon Technologies (IFX). He maintained a "sell" rating on the stock, citing Infineon's "deteroriating outlook for the profitable memory division and the uncertainty surrounding Infineon's wireless business with Siemens (SI) (723610).

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