(AMD) is on a serious tear, but will the good times keep rolling for the chipmaker?
Intel's pain was AMD's gain on Monday, with Northland Capital analyst Gus Richard downgrading Intel's stock and raising AMD's on projections that AMD will gain on its rival. The report sent AMD's stock up 4.8%, reaching its its highest price since 2007. In just in the past two months, AMD's share price has increased by nearly 80%. Meanwhile, shares of (INTC) sagged nearly 4% on Monday, and are up about 5% over the last three months.
"We believe that AMD products are delivering more compute for less money than Intel," Richard wrote. "We believe that the company is seeing strong demand this quarter as the company benefits from new notebook products and its desktop product refresh."
Another consumer trend potentially working in AMD's favor? The rapidly-evolving gaming PC market. AMD will supply processors for Sony's Playstation 5, due out in 2019 or early 2020. AMD also supplies chips for Microsoft's Xbox One, and if that relationship is extended to Microsoft's next-gen Xboxes, it could mean an additional boon for AMD when the new consoles arrive on the market.
"On the architecture side, AMD has a strong GPU offering. GPUs are needed in the datacenter for AI workloads and in the consumer market for gaming performance," Richard adds. "Intel on the other hand has to use an AMD GPU to be competitive with (NVDA) . We believe the process and architectural advantage will allow AMD to narrow its gross margin differential with Intel and gain market share."
2020 is a long ways away, however --and it's not a sure bet that AMD will be able to accurately forecast consumer demand.
"In these markets AMD is required to forecast customer needs to create products that there isn't yet a demand for," added Richard. "If they are unable to accurately forecast future consumer needs they will fall behind the industry and become obsolete."
Despite any gains on its main rival, Intel, there are other reasons to exercise caution around AMD in the longer term.
Intel still dominates 75% of the microprocessor market, which gives them an edge among manufacturers and their distribution channels. That won't be easy to overcome: AMD also relies on foundries to produce their chips, leading to risk that the third-party producers won't deliver on time and delay AMD's product timelines.
Another is AMD's $2.3 billion in debt, which could cause problems should the company need to raise capital in the future.
"This could limit their ability to borrow funds in the future, and may make the terms of their borrowings less than ideal. This large debt may also make it difficult for AMD to satisfy their financial obligations and make their scheduled payments," Richard wrote.