|h/t The Ox|
Nvidia and AMD aren’t at serious risk from crypto concerns, analysts says
Published: Sept 11, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET
Shift to mining-specific products could insulate graphics-card makers from potential demand downturn on China ban
Two graphics-card makers that have benefited from the rise of cryptocurrencies, Nvidia Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., should be insulated from concerns about a drop in the virtual currencies, analysts said Monday.
After briefly trading above $5,000 on Sept. 2, the price of bitcoin has fallen under pressure lately, most recently as the Bank of China has issued a draft of instructions that would ban Chinese exchanges from providing cryptocurrency trading services. Given the effect of past bitcoin downturns on graphics card sales, many are concerned that a drop in crypto prices could punish sales at AMD and Nvidia.
“We think that the risk of a ‘crypto-driven’ inventory correction driving material downside is low in the near term,” said Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis.
Shares of AMD AMD, -0.08% were up 2.7% to $12.58 and Nvidia NVDA, +3.24% shares gained 3.4% to $169.29 Monday. The price of one bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.60% rose 0.6% to $4,217.54 and Ether, the cryptocurrency on the Etherium network, gained 4.4% for $301.42.
Reasons for the low risk outlook include upward momentum in crypto prices since July, and AMD and Nvidia hinting that vendors will start developing products directed at cryptocurrency miners.Asustek Computer Inc. 2357, +0.40% has started distributing cards based on AMD and Nvidia chipsets targeted solely at cryptocurrency mining.
That alters a landscape that has been based on what happened a few years ago, when bitcoin prices spiked and drove demand for graphics cards to help with mining, only for that demand to soften when bitcoin prices fell back down, Lipacis said. When crypto prices fell, miners dismantled their mining rigs and flooded the secondary market with graphics cards, sapping demand for Nvidia and AMD products.
Should crypto prices face a similar decline, both AMD and Nvidia are better insulated this time, said Lipacis, who thinks the newer cards built for cryptocurrency mining are worthless to gamers on the secondary market, lessening the risk that a dive in crypto prices will tank demand.
The risk isn’t zero, however. Overall, Lipacis sees a 3% downside to AMD’s quarterly sales should the crypto market tank, and a 10% risk to Nvidia sales. Lipacis has “Buy” ratings on both AMD and Nvidia.
As to whether cryptocurrencies are a fad, Lipacis doesn’t think so. He writes:
The recent crackdowns in China on cryptocurrencies could soften demand for mining cards in the December quarter, said Mizuho Securities analyst Vijay Rakesh in a note. Rakesh has “Buy” ratings on both Nvidia and AMD, with $180 and $17 price targets respectively.
|We actually believe that the technology they are based on, called Blockchain, which supports secure accounting of distributed ledgers, has applications in financial services beyond cryptocurrencies. We expect demand for Blockchain GPUs (including for cryptocurrencies) to continue to grow and become an important driver for GPU growth, even if with some degree of volatility.|
For the year, AMD shares are up nearly 11% and Nvidia shares have gained 58%. By comparison, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.08% has advanced 11%. Meanwhile, bitcoin has rallied 337% year to date, while Ether has soared 3,668%.
|While Sep/OctQ could see upside, some recent potential crackdowns by the China regulators…could imply a modest DecQ GPU demand softening. We believe key for NVDA/AMD will be to show continued Data Center momentum in the DecQ.|
Of the 36 analysts covering Nvidia, 18 have “Buy” or “Overweight” ratings, 13 have “Hold” ratings, and five have “Underweight” or “Sell” ratings, according to FactSet.