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Nvidia earnings hailed as historic moment for tech, but some warn A.I. is reaching fever pitch—‘this level of hype is dangerous’

Jun 18, 2023

A.I. superstar Nvidia may have smashed Wall Street’s expectations on Wednesday with stellar quarterly earnings, but analysts are divided over whether now is the time to buy into a stock that has more than tripled since the start of the year.

Back in May, a bullish outlook from CEO Jensen Huang saw it land the one of the largest single-day gains in value in U.S. history, adding nearly $200 billion to its market cap. The upward trend has continued unabated, with shares briefly touching a record high this week ahead of the company’s quarterly report.

Nvidia shares were bolstered again after the bell on Wednesday, as investors poured cash into the firm following its forecast that demand for A.I. chips would boost sales by 170% this quarter.

The company’s booming stock price has benefited one person in particular: Huang, whose personal wealth has grown to around $42 billion on the back of the hype, according to Bloomberg’s real-time tracker of billionaires’ wealth.

In a note on Thursday morning, analysts from Wedbush, including prominent A.I. bull Dan Ives, hailed Nvidia’s glowing earnings report as groundbreaking for the industry as a whole.

“We view last night as a historical moment for the broader tech sector and a sneak preview of what is on the horizon after hearing the guidance from…Jensen and Nvidia,” they said. “Very simply, Nvidia's guidance and commentary was at ‘drop the mic’ level, as investors now recognize crystal clear this A.I. demand story is as real as any tech trend we have seen in the last 30 years.”

Nvidia’s earnings report was a moment in time that is “only comparable to the Internet in 1995 and Apple's iPhone launch in 2007,” according to Ives and his team of analysts.

“Today, it’s Nvidia on the front line supplying the chips, but ultimately the most important takeaway is this tidal wave of A.I. growth is now coming to software, digital media, [and] infrastructure over the coming years, with $1 trillion of fresh spending in clear sights for the tech sector.”

A.I. has been acclaimed by many experts as a catalyst for transformation across industries, with Big Tech pumping billions of dollars into the technology following the phenomenal takeoff of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Breakthroughs in generative A.I.—a form of artificial intelligence that creates a variety of content and includes image generator Midjourney—have buoyed investor interest in tech stocks as well as the wider equity market this year.

Nvidia itself has been a major beneficiary of the A.I. gold rush. Even before the stock’s rally on Wednesday, investors flocked to snap up the company’s shares thanks to its surprise $11 billion sales forecast back in May.

The surge in interest saw it ultimately gain membership to the elite trillion-dollar valuation club, comprised of a select few companies including Apple, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco, and Google parent firm Alphabet.

But some traders are nervous about the A.I. hype—and the market response to it. For several big-name investors, that wariness extends to Nvidia.

Nigel Green, CEO of DeVere Group—one of the world’s biggest independent financial advisories—is bullish on A.I., arguing that the buzz around the technology is “grounded in tangible technological advancements.”

However, he said in a note on Wednesday that the A.I. frenzy is “reaching fever pitch,” and the heat around Nvidia and other Big Tech stocks needs to be taken down a gear.

“This level of hype is dangerous as it could lead investors to assume that these stocks are a silver bullet to build long-term wealth," he said. "And they are not, at least not on their own.”

Although Green conceded that exposure to mega-cap tech stocks should be “part of almost every investor’s portfolio,” investors should not own these exclusively and must remember to prioritize diversification.

“These stocks are incredibly important, of course, but they’re not a panacea,” he said. “I fear some investors will get burned unless some of the frenzy is turned down.”

Even tech evangelist Cathie Wood, CEO of money manager ARK Invest, said after Nvidia’s stock surge in May that the company’s soaring shares were “priced ahead of the curve.”

According to a model developed by David Trainer, founder of investment research firm New Constructs, Nvidia’s revenues would need to jump 20% a year for the next two decades to reward its investors.

“This is priced for fantasy,” Trainer told Fortune after Nvidia’s May stock rally.

For his part, Wedbush’s Ives has shaken off warnings that the A.I. race is inflating a bubble that will inevitably burst.

“The second, third, and fourth derivatives of this A.I. gold rush are just starting to evolve for the tech landscape,” Ives wrote in a June note. “We have covered the tech sector for decades and saw the dotcom bubble and burst first-hand, [and we believe] this is the start of a fourth industrial revolution playing out across tech over the coming years that is still being underestimated by the Street in our opinion.”

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