Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) has had a volatile September. After quietly -- and uncharacteristically -- bumbling between $160 and $170 for the better part of a month, Nvidia suddenly shot out of a cannon. Shares erupted to $190 in a two-day span, churned there for a few days, and ultimately fell back down. The stock found some support near $170 and has since started to move higher again.
In early Friday trading, shares are up 1.75%, to $178.76, likely in response to a few positive calls from the analyst community.
Needham analyst Rajvindra Gil says the recent weakness is unwarranted. Reports that Intel (INTC) would take market share from Nvidia when it came to Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was the main catalyst for that decline. While those reports may have truth to them, it won't negatively impact Nvidia in that dire of a way. The Autonomous driving business with Tesla is far more valuable than supplying chips for its infotainment unit, Gil argues. He maintains his $200 price target and buy rating as a result.
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However, it's Citi analyst Atif Malik who might have the stock price moving. He maintained his buy rating and slapped a $210 price target on Nvidia stock, implying about 20% upside from Thursday's closing price.
Recent deal announcements with Alibaba (BABA) and its cloud business, as well as with Baidu (BIDU) and Tencent (TCEHY) , should help drive stronger sales. Nvidia's strides in artificial intelligence are head-and-shoulders above current CPU solutions. With AI and robotics acting as a clear catalyst, and Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) new graphics chip (Vega) acting as a "limited threat," the risk/reward remains higher for Nvidia, Malik contends.
A few days prior to his upgrade, Malik, like Needham's Gil, argued that Intel replacing Nvidia on Tesla's infotainment system is a negative headline, but should have no major financial impact. Autonomous vehicle sales remains a far larger catalyst. TheStreet's tech guru Eric Jhonsa made the same case for Nvidia.
Despite the positive commentary, Malik doesn't have the highest price target on the Street. That belongs to Evercore ISI, as analysts became more positive on Nvidia about two weeks ago thanks to its advances in A.I., assigning a $250 price target in the process.
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