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Opinion: AMD’s inventory has been left behind, however not for lengthy — right here’s why 

Whereas the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF

and Nvidia Corp.

have recovered from their Could swoons, Superior Micro Units Inc.

hasn’t but totally rebounded. This makes the inventory appear like one to personal, regardless that it’s up 517% since I final steered it in February 2017, in contrast with positive aspects of 80% for the S&P 500

and 140% for Nasdaq Composite Index

Let’s check out why, and the way AMD stacks up towards rivals.

Key dynamics

Superior Micro Units designs central processing models (CPUs) and graphics processing models (GPUs) utilized in information middle servers, PCs and videogame consoles. That makes it a play on two of the largest traits in tech proper now — migration to the cloud and videogame {hardware}. Traditionally, the corporate lagged Intel Corp.
However it has now surpassed its rival due to modern chip designs and manufacturing points at Intel.

Over the previous few years, AMD has rolled out extremely aggressive traces of chips, because of the management of CEO Lisa Su, who took the helm in 2014, says tech analyst Peter Karazeris at Thrivent. This put AMD again within the sport. AMD’s EPYC collection of processors for servers has been endorsed by broad utilization among the many fundamental cloud suppliers — together with Amazon Inc.
Alphabet Inc.
Microsoft Corp.
Oracle Corp.

and Tencent Holdings Ltd
AMD’s Radeon GPUs for gaming {hardware} and its Ryzen line of chips utilized in PCs and laptops are equally profitable.

Moreover higher chip design, AMD has pulled forward by drawing on superior manufacturing capabilities of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
which may pack extra punch in chips by the usage of smaller, 7 nanometer transistors. Intel is caught again at 10 nanometers.

Right here’s the upshot in all of this: AMD is a stable play on the megatrend of cloud computing and the associated information middle buildout. It’s a wager on the rising complexity of synthetic intelligence and massive information analytics. And its GPU chips give Nvidia a run for the cash. That makes AMD a play on the brand new Xbox and Sony PlayStation console improve cycle and the potential launch of a brand new Nintendo Change later this 12 months. AMD can also be now a critical contender in PCs and notebooks.

“Our objective at AMD is to essentially be the chief within the high-performance computing wave,” says Su.

She’s getting her approach, and you may see the success within the numbers. First-quarter gross sales grew 93% year-over-year and 6% sequentially. AMD guided for 50% gross sales progress for the 12 months, up from prior steering of 37% progress.

“We consider this steering needs to be simply attainable, notably as Intel offers with manufacturing challenges,” says Morningstar analyst Abhinav Davuluri.

In CPUs, gross sales are rising sooner than these of the general trade, which tells us AMD is gaining share from rivals.

“We count on continued share progress by the steadiness of the 12 months and into 2022,” says Goldman Sachs analyst Toshiya Hari, who has a purchase ranking and a $106 value goal on AMD. The chip firm is on Goldman’s “conviction listing” of extremely favored firms.

Right here’s how AMD stacks up towards rivals when it comes to progress in the newest quarter, revenue margins and valuation:


Money and money circulation

Huge money positions and stable money circulation are positives for buyers as a result of they offer firms freedom that comes from reliance on banks for financing. Robust money positions additionally assist investor-friendly strikes, equivalent to buybacks and dividends.

Due to all the expansion, AMD’s money place rose sharply final 12 months to $2.3 billion, from $1.5 billion in 2019. AMD doesn’t pay a dividend, however its board just lately accepted a big $4 billion share repurchase. As the corporate’s first huge return of money to shareholders, this represents about 4% of AMD’s market capitalization. It additionally indicators the corporate’s confidence in its enterprise and skill to proceed producing stable free money circulation regardless of rising issues about intensifying competitors, says Deutsche Financial institution analyst Ross Seymore.

Right here’s a take a look at AMD’s money place and money circulation  progress, relative to rivals. The numbers for Marvell Know-how Inc.

are by Jan. 30, 2021. The remainder are for the primary quarter:


World attain

AMD books gross sales in lots of areas. That’s a optimistic when international progress is as robust as it’s now — lifted by $30 trillion in fiscal and financial stimulus worldwide. Huge publicity to China could possibly be a danger due to U.S.-China tensions, however this challenge appears to be diminishing a bit below President Biden, no less than thus far.


Inventory valuation and efficiency

By most measures, AMD is the second-priciest inventory in its group. However given the expansion, it’s justified.


Wall Avenue’s opinion

As a gaggle, Wall Avenue analysts are predicting the largest positive aspects for AMD, amongst all the businesses in its house. It’s additionally notable that solely 61% of analysts have a purchase ranking, decrease than the odds for Nvidia, Broadcom Inc.
Marvell and Analog Units Inc.
For buyers, this can be a optimistic as a result of it tells us there’s extra room for sell-side analysts to show bullish and drive their shoppers into the identify.



One huge danger for AMD is that Intel levels a comeback, notes Tony Wang, a tech analyst at T. Rowe Value. Intel has accomplished so earlier than. However AMD nonetheless has a couple of tips up its sleeve.

It just lately launched a extra superior model of its EPYC processor, codenamed Milan. This line of server chips will ramp up gross sales within the second half of this 12 months. AMD is making the leap to much more environment friendly 5 nanometer manufacturing with a line of chips dubbed Genoa, slated for launch in 2022. These two rollouts will enable AMD to proceed its market-share positive aspects towards rivals together with Intel, says Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis — one motive he has a “purchase” ranking and a $110 value goal on the inventory.

AMD can also be rolling out next-generation GPUs primarily based on its Compute DNA (CDNA) chip structure, to be used in information facilities. And AMD’s merger with Xilinx Inc.

later this 12 months ought to assist AMD produce much more subtle chips by incorporating Xilinx’s field-programmable gate array (FPGA) capabilities into its chip designs. FPGA provides prospects extra leeway to customise chips for their very own wants.

Different dangers embody the cyclical nature of the chip trade and the unpredictable demand from shoppers and firms as financial progress charges change. Yet another risk is the broader adoption of competing chips primarily based on ARM (superior RISC machines) expertise.

Essential dates

July 26: Second-quarter earnings launch.

Oct. 25: Third-quarter earnings launch.

Michael Brush is a columnist for MarketWatch. On the time of publication, he had no positions in any shares talked about on this column. Brush has steered AMZN, GOOGL, MSFT, INTC and ADI in his inventory e-newsletter, Brush Up on Shares. Observe him on Twitter @mbrushstocks

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