Once left for dead, semiconductor giant Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), has come back over the past two years, proving the doubters wrong. With gains of 400% over the past year, AMD stock has punished those who bet against it. But is it now time to take profits?
AMD stock had a slow start to 2017, off about 6% before Tuesday night’s fourth-quarter earnings report, is back in the black thanks to a Wednesday surge after showing off some of the operational dominance it sported in a rip-roaring 2016.
Expectation for the Quarter
For the quarter that ended December, Wall Street expected the company to report a loss of 2 cents per share on revenues of $1.07 billion. AMD beat on both fronts, recording revenues of $1.11 billion and a loss of just 1 cent per share.
Recent results from Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) hinted that Advanced Micro might be in for a Street-beating quarter.
On Friday John Vinh, analyst at Pacific Crest noted that Intel’s results, which reflected less-bad personal computer trends, suggests strong growth for the sector. Notably, Vinh cited AMD as benefiting from “strength in gaming and high-end PCs.” To that end, the analysts also said the improvements in high-end PCs could reduce concerns about high-end GPU inventory at desktop graphics card manufacturers.
Well, a beat is what we got, and that came on the power of AMD’s graphics chips, which saw revenues grow 15% year-over-year.
The Key to AMD: GPUs
GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is a big business for AMD. Those chips render images, animations and video for display on computer’s screens. And the strength of that business has been a key component of AMD’s turnaround. In the third quarter, reported in October, AMD posted a 23% year-over-year jump in revenue of $1.3 billion. The company benefited from strong growth in its popular Radeon line GPUs as revenue from that segment rose 11% year over year.
This quarter, GPUs helped once more. Revenues in Computing and Graphics grew 28% year-over-year, thanks in part to higher average GPU selling prices.
The company recently announced that its FirePro server GPUs have been selected by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to power its cloud platform in 2017. All told, AMD’s GPU strength has begun to gain traction in different verticals, which should help it narrow the market share gap with leader Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA).
Bottom Line for AMD Stock
AMD’s report was full of other positives, such as an expansion of gross margins from 30% to 32%, and slight gains in its Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom business (4%).
Still, graphics and high performance are the name of the game.
AMD stock surged 14% higher on Wednesday’s reaction to fourth-quarter results, putting shares at highs last seen in 2017. The stock has returned more than 400% in 12 months — better than the 20% one-year gain in the S&P 500.
And even still, AMD is showing that there’s little let-up in the growth ramp.
I expect AMD stock to reach $13 in 2017, delivering 22% gains on the back of greater GPU adoption and rising margins.
As of this writing, Richard Saintvilus did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.