Flash-based storage specialist SanDisk (NAS: SNDK) reports first-quarter results on Thursday. The company primed investors for bad news a couple of weeks ago, posting preliminary sales below original guidance and a weak margin outlook to boot.
Will the final report magnify SanDisk's supposed weakness or show us a company firing on more cylinders than the pre-announcement would suggest?
First of all, that early update only underscored the deep, rich value I see in SanDisk. The 10% overnight price drop looked like an overreaction to short-term weakness, particularly in light of the strong market outlook recently reported by rival Micron Technology (NAS: MU) .
That said, analysts lowered their long-term targets by the boatload. A month ago the consensus estimate for full-year earnings per share stood at $4.69. Today it's just $3.89. That $0.80 estimate drop goes far beyond the $0.21 reduction of first-quarter expectations and implies that SanDisk will be sick for the rest of the year.
That's a ridiculous assumption. In this report, SanDisk should remind us how the company plays into the exploding smartphone and tablet megatrend. The company's mobile sales doubled in 2011, thanks to these hugely popular mobile computing platforms. If consumers stop buying iPads and Samsung Galaxy phones, SanDisk will indeed suffer. But that's not in the cards for years to come. A brief blip in the demand curve does not a full-year trend make.
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