Nvidia Stock Soars On Blowout Guidance

moonypto Updated   
Soaring demand for the chips needed to train the latest wave of generative artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT led Nvidia to issue a revenue forecast far ahead of Wall Street expectations, prompting a surge in its stock price in after market trading.

The US chipmaker on Wednesday said it expected sales to reach 11bn dollar in the three months to the end of July, more than 50 per cent ahead of the 7.2bn dollar analysts had been expecting and confirming its position as the biggest short-term beneficiary of the AI race that has broken out in the technology industry.

The forecast fuelled a 27 per cent leap in Nvidia’s shares, which had already more than doubled since the start of the year, and lifted its stock market value to a record 960 bn dollar.

Jensen Huang, chief executive, said the company was “significantly increasing our supply to meet surging demand” for its entire family of data centre chips, including the H100, a product launched this year that was designed to handle the demands of so-called large language models such as OpenAI’s GPT4.

The race in the tech industry to develop larger AI models has led some customers to worry privately about a shortage of H100 chips, which only went on sale earlier this year. However, Nvidia’s $4.28bn in sales to data centre customers in its latest quarter topped even the most optimistic analysts’ forecasts, and the company said there had been strong sales of both the H100 and its A100 chips, based on its previous chip architecture.

Nvidia’s forecast noted a potential doubling of sales to data centre customers in three months, even though data centre sales were running at an annualised rate of $17bn in the opening quarter of this year. Growth is coming from customers across the board, Kress said, with consumer internet companies, cloud computing providers and enterprise customers all rushing to apply the generative AI to their businesses.

The bullish forecast came as Nvidia reported revenue and earnings in its latest quarter, to the end of April, had also topped forecasts, thanks to a jump in sales to data centre customers as demand for AI took off. Revenue reached $7.19bn, up 19 per cent from the preceding three months but down 13 per cent from the year before, as sales of chips for gaming systems dropped.

Earnings per share rose 22 per cent from a year before to 82 cents, or $1.09 on the pro forma basis Wall Street judges the company. The consensus view on Wall Street had been for revenue of $6.52bn and pro forma earnings of 92 cents a share.

now let's delve into the numbers. Nvidia's different business units did not all perform equally well during the quarter - which can be expected, of course. Nvidia's data center business grossed revenues of $4.3 billion during the first quarter, which represents a new record high. Data center demand is not very cyclical, and companies kept investing in new equipment despite a potential recession being on the horizon. This can be explained by the fact that data centers are mission critical for many companies, so they don't really have a lot of choice when it comes to allocating capital to this space. Strong data center sales also have been seen in the results of other chip companies such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Both Nvidia and AMD also were able to benefit from the weak performance of their competitor Intel (INTC), as Intel has been losing market share in the data center space in recent quarters due to self-inflicted problems and an unconvincing product line-up.

Nvidia is a major graphic chip or GPU player and is thus heavily impacted by the performance of related end markets. This includes both cryptocurrency mining and gaming. While some cryptocurrencies can't be mined with GPUs economically, such as Bitcoin, others, such as Ethereum, can be mined with GPUs. Ethereum moved from a proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake model in the fall of 2022, but some miners still use GPUs for Ethereum mining. Not surprisingly, Nvidia's sales to this end market depend on the price for cryptocurrencies - when cryptocurrencies are expensive, miners are more eager to acquire additional GPUs and they may also be willing to pay high prices for them. During times when cryptocurrencies are less expensive, mining is less profitable, and GPU demand from cryptocurrency miners wanes. This has had an impact on Nvidia's sales in the past and likely played a role in Nvidia's Q1 sales as well.

GPU sales have been under pressure in recent quarters due to lower demand by gamers as well. Many that like to play video games upgraded their hardware during the lockdown phase of the pandemic when staying at home meant that consumers had more time for video games. With many gamers having relatively new equipment, demand has declined in the recent past. At the same time, inflation pressures consumers' ability to spend on discretionary goods. On top of that, some consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences over things now as there are no lockdowns or travel restrictions in place any longer. All in all, this has resulted in a difficult macro environment for Nvidia's gaming business.

Combined, the headwinds for the gaming market and the cryptocurrency market explain why Nvidia's sales and profits kept declining during the most recent quarter, relative to the results the company was able to generate one year earlier. The strong performance in the data center space was not enough to offset the headwinds Nvidia experienced in other areas.

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Nvidia reported that its $22.1 billion revenue—logged in the fourth quarter ending January 28, 2024 was 22% higher than the previous quarter and 265% higher than the year before.


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