NVIDIA shares surged on Friday following the company’s strong earnings report, but the stock seems to have hit a ceiling despite analyst calls that there’s still plenty of room to run. While bigger players Intel and Qualcomm tend to get most of the attention, NVIDIA is quickly becoming a favorite of Wall Street.
NVIDIA upgraded by RBC
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves upgraded the chip maker to Outperform and raised his price target to $72 from $47 per share. He called NVIDIA’s most recently completed quarter and its guide a “blow out.” He believes that the company has “materially changed to a structural long” based on its expertise and growth in deep learning, automotive and virtual reality. He noted that originally, Wall Street was looking for between 8% and 12% growth in sales for the company, but now he thinks 20% to 30% is possible, plus tailwinds from margins as yields improve.
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He noted that the Data Center segment was the main driver of the earnings beat. He said previously he had been bullish on VR and considered the automotive segment to be a sort of “call option” on it “creating an unjustifiable multiple.” However, NVIDIA’s data center portfolio soared 110% year over year in the last quarter.
Steves remains bullish on Gaming as he expects it to keep growing at rates in the low teens. His viewpoint on the Data Center segment has greatly improved as he now expects a more than 60% year over year growth rate in each of the next two quarters and long-term growth of more than 20%. He still sees Automotive as a “call option” as average selling prices keep rising, with at least a 40% increase by his estimate.
MKM Partners ups NVIDIA target to $70
MKM Partners Executive Director Ian Ing continues to rate NVIDIA as a Buy but raised his target from $64 to $70 per share. He notes that the company’s valuation is expensive and that this continues to be the main issue raised by bears. However, he expects investors to keep applying premium multiples because the chip maker is exposed to almost all of the main growth trends within semiconductors now that smartphones are nearing saturation.
He added that investors who missed out on the rally in NVIDIA shares will probably stay on the sidelines now because of the valuation, but he doesn’t think the stock will pull back as many have long expected. He also warned that the company’s new autonomous driving and deep learning markets won’t be exclusive to them as competitors are playing catch-up, although for now it enjoys a lead.
Other analysts also up targets for NVIDIA
UBS analyst Stephen Chin raised his target for the chip maker from $53 to $71 per share and reiterated his Buy rating on the stock. He still believes NVIDIA can increase its sales by more than 10% year over year thanks to new opportunities in gaming, VR, self-driving cars and machine learning. Its largest segment, Gaming, which made up 55% of sales and enjoyed 18% growth.
He believes Gaming now has “solid visibility” because the new Pascal chips have begun to chip. He also expects the chip maker to benefit from a multi-year upgrade cycle in Gaming as it has an installed base of about 80 million gamers. NVIDIA said only about one-third of its installed base had upgraded to the Maxwell chip, which was introduced last year. We would add a reminder that the Nintendo NX console is expected to be powered by the company’s Tegra X1 chip, which is also a significant win.
Jefferies moved to $73 per share and reiterated their Buy rating, while Mizuho Securities moved from $60 to $66 per share. Canaccord Genuity’s target moves from $67.50 to $70 per share.
Shares of NVIDIA edged downward by 0.1% to $62.97 during regular trading hours on Monday.