Nvidia is having a spectacular year; so where does it go from here?


Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang speaks at CES in Las Vegas in January 2018.


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Nvidia Corp. reported stunning quarterly results Wednesday, thanks to strong sales of its new chips for gamers and servers, part of a holiday sales season that may be hard for Nvidia to top in coming years.

The graphics-chip maker reported record quarterly earnings and revenue Wednesday, surpassing $4 billion in revenue for the first time as new gaming cards were rolled out and the previous quarter’s data-center debut remained strong. Nvidia’s core segments, gaming and data center, established their own quarterly revenue records individually, and the company said it expects to do even better in the fourth quarter.

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Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress warned against putting too much into the current performance when looking at Nvidia moving forward, however.

“All things change going forward,” Kress told MarketWatch in an interview Wednesday afternoon following the release of the earnings results.

Nvidia has struggled to meet demand for its new 30 Series RTX GPU, with both Kress and Chief Executive Jensen Huang describing demand as “overwhelming” Wednesday.

“We do know that we are a little bit supply constrained…because everyone wants a [GeForce RTX] 3080 under the Christmas tree,” she said. “We are working on it.”

The moment is quite a turn from last year, when Nvidia was suffering through a “crypto hangover” and the first generation of gaming chips with ray-tracing struggled for sales as game designers caught up with the new technology. Nvidia’s annual revenue declined in its last fiscal year, which likely contributed to this year’s performance — Nvidia has already surpassed last year’s revenue total of nearly $11 billion through nine months, and expects to approach another $5 billion in the final stretch.

Analysts already expect Nvidia to keep growing at a strong pace, with the average forecast for next year approaching $19 billion even before Nvidia’s record-breaking success was reported Wednesday. That is definitely priced in for Nvidia, as shares have jumped 128% so far this year before a 2% decline in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Revenue growth from here, though, may come from ARM Holdings PLC. Nvidia executives declined to talk about the proposed $40 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of ARM from Softbank Group
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saying they are working through the regulatory approval process. If the ARM acquisition actually happens, it could help revenue growth continue, but at the same time squeeze Nvidia’s margins and threaten its big profit growth.

Huang described Nvidia as poised to become an even bigger threat in semiconductors for the age of artificial intelligence, and signed off Wednesday’s conference call by confidently declaring that “Nvidia is firing on all cylinders.” That certainly seems true for this holiday season — though consumers who can’t find a new gaming card may disagree — but next year still has some question marks.



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