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Nvidia close to becoming first trillion-dollar chip firm after stellar forecast

Nvidia close to becoming first trillion-dollar chip firm after stellar forecast
The logo of Nvidia as seen at its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California, in May of 2022.
PHOTO: Courtesy Nvidia via Reuters

Nvidia Corp surged 24 per cent on Thursday (May 25) in one of the largest one-day gains in value for a US stock, after its stellar revenue forecast showed that Wall Street has yet to price in the game-changing potential of AI.

The surge more than doubled the stock's value for this year and increased the chip designer's market capitalisation by about US$184 billion (S$248 billion) to nearly US$939 billion.

That makes Nvidia twice as big as the second-largest chip firm, Taiwan's TSMC. In the United States, it trails only trillion-dollar-value companies Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp and Inc.

The rosy earnings also sparked a rally in the chip sector and for AI-focused firms, lifting stock markets from Japan to Europe. In the US, Big Tech companies other than Amazon closed between 0.6 per cent and 3.8 per cent higher, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc settled 11 per cent higher.

Analysts rushed to raise their price targets on Nvidia stock, with 27 lifting their view on the idea that all roads in AI lead to the company as it dominates the market for chips used to power ChatGPT and many similar services.

The mean price target has more than doubled this year. At the highest view, a US$644.80 price target from Elazar Advisors, Nvidia will have a value of US$1.59 trillion, around that of Alphabet.

"In the 15+ years we have been doing this job, we have never seen a guide like the one Nvidia just put up with the second-quarter outlook that was by all accounts cosmological, and which annihilated expectations," Stacy Rasgon of Bernstein said.

Nvidia, the fifth-most valuable US company, on Wednesday projected quarterly revenue more than 50 per cent above the average Wall Street estimate and said it would have more supply of AI chips in the second half to meet a surge in demand.

CEO Jensen Huang said US$1 trillion worth of current equipment in data centres would have to be replaced with AI chips, as generative AI is applied into every product and service.

The results bode well for Big Tech companies, which have shifted focus to AI on hopes the technology would help attract demand at a time their profit engines of digital advertising and cloud computing are under pressure from a weak economy.

Some analysts said Nvidia's results show that the generative AI boom could be the next big driver of growth.

"We're really just seeing the tip of the iceberg. This really could be another inflection point in technological history, such as the internal combustion engine — or the internet," said Derren Nathan, head of equity analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown.

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