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Feb 14, 2019

Nvidia gives inline forecasts for sales, margins; stock jumps

An Nvidia Corp. dual-core Tegra 2 chipset that will power the in-car multimedia systems of upcoming Audi AG vehicles sits on display at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.

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Nvidia Corp. predicted stronger fiscal 2020 sales than analysts had estimated, raising optimism the company can quickly return to growth when it clears a buildup of unused gaming chips. The stock rallied more than 7 per cent in extended trading.

Revenue will be flat to down slightly in the fiscal year, the company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts, on average, estimated a 7 per cent drop. The chipmaker also forecast a 20 per cent decline in the current quarter, suggesting Nvidia sees a big boost in sales coming later in the year.

Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang is trying to convince investors that the stall in the company’s sales is a short-lived trend and that the broader use of graphics chips in everything from cars to data centers will restore growth that has doubled the size of his company since 2016.

“This was a turbulent close to what had been a great year,” Huang said in the statement. “Despite this setback, Nvidia’s fundamental position and the markets we serve are strong. We fully expect to return to sustained growth.”

Nvidia’s run of consecutive revenue gains, stretching back to 2014, was broken in the reported quarter when sales of chips to cryptocurrency miners crashed as the digital-coin market plunged. The resulting excess inventory has been compounded by weaker demand from consumers and from operators of data centers, who had been increasingly using the chips for artificial intelligence computing.

Earlier, Nvidia shares rose 1.1 per cent to close at US$154.53 in New York. The stock has gained 16 per cent this year.

The company projected sales of US$2.2 billion, plus or minus 2 per cent, in the fiscal first quarter. That compares with an average analyst estimate of US$2.29 billion. Gross margin, or the per centage of sales remaining after deducting costs of production, will be 59 per cent, the Santa Clara, California-based company said. Analysts projected 59 per cent.

Nvidia, biggest maker of processors for computer graphics cards, last month warned that it hadn’t met its targets for the fiscal fourth quarter, citing weaker gamer demand and slower orders from data center operators. It predicted revenue of about US$2.2 billion in the period, down from a previous forecast of about US$2.7 billion.

Net income was US$567 million, or 92 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with US$1.1 billion, or US$1.78 a share in the same period a year earlier. Revenue fell 24 per cent to US$2.205 billion, the first quarterly decline since 2014.