Nvidia gaming card upgrade is quite a deal, analysts say, as stock breaks more records

Nvidia Corp. shares rallied to close at a fourth straight day of record highs on Wednesday, after analysts roundly applauded the chip maker on its decision to offer a significant upgrade in its gaming cards without raising prices.

Nvidia NVDA, +3.80% shares closed up 3.8% at a record $573.86, following an intraday record of $589.07, for its fourth consecutive session of record-breaking prices.

On Tuesday, Nvidia announced its next generation of gaming cards that are built on its Ampere architecture, following the May announcement of Ampere-based data-center systems.



Bank of America analyst Vivek Arya, who has a buy rating, hiked his price target to a Street high of $650 from $600. While some critics had maintained two years ago that Nvidia’s Turing-based cards provided little incentive to upgrade from the previous generation of Pascal-based cards, Arya said Ampere offers a strong upgrade argument, which may result in 75% of gamers who still use Pascal-based cards buying an Ampere card.

“Ampere adds the performance boost (4K at 60 frames/sec) both for traditional AND ray traced games even on traditional games that Turing often compromised on, leading some Pascal gamers to forgo the Turing upgrade,” Arya said.

Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers, who has a buy rating and hiked his price target to $605 from $535, noted that the pricing of the Ampere upgrade offered a significant difference from the last two generations of Nvidia GPUs.

“The new Ampere lineup carries the same price points as the prior Turing GeForce line-up w/ GeForce RTX 3080 priced at $699,” Rakers said. “This compares to some reports pointing to a potential like-to-like increase; note that prior gen Turing (2018) and Pascal (2016) had $100 and $50 price increases, respectively. “

Curiously, at the time of publication, Nvidia was offering its older Turing-based cards at similar prices to the upgraded ones. An Nvidia spokesman had declined to comment on whether the company planned to reduce prices on the Turing cards.

Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh, who has a buy rating and raised his price target to $575 from $520, said Nvidia’s push into making its ray-tracing technology more relevant in popular game titles like Epic Games’ “Fortnite” and Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT “Minecraft” positioned the company “well into 2021.” Ray tracing, which was introduced with Nvidia’s Turing-based cards, is the ability for the graphics card to render realistic-looking lighting and shading in real time.

“We believe the combination of a strong 3D rendering GPU platform boosted by RTX and AI drive a step up in its value proposition for developers and gamers and create a deeper moat versus the competition for NVDA,” Rakesh said.

Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay, who has an outperform rating and raised his price target to $540, said Nvidia’s lack of a price increase showed how competitive the GPU landscape is currently.

“We believe Nvidia is pricing the cards aggressively to ensure it maintains its dominant gaming ecosystem leadership and wallet-share given upcoming new GPU launches from [Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s AMD, -2.12% ] Big Navi line, and new Sony/Xbox game consoles,” Ramsay said. On Wednesday, AMD shares were down 1.7% at $90.60.

Of the 39 analysts who cover Nvidia, 31 have buy or overweight ratings, six have hold ratings and two have sell or underweight ratings. With 30 analysts hiking price targets, Wall Street has an average target of $544.04 on the stock, up from the $491.39 average following Nvidia’s strong earnings report two weeks ago, according to FactSet data.

Shares are up 144% for the year, compared with a 28% gain in the PHLX Semiconductor Index SOX, +2.84%, a 11% gain in the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.53%, and a 34% gain in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.97%.


Originally published on MarketWatch

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