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May 16, 2019

Nvidia's sales forecast signals gaming chip inventory is easing

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. (NVDA.O) gave a forecast for the current period that showed makers of gaming computers are beginning to order graphics chips again after working their way through an inventory buildup. The stock rallied.

Revenue will be about US$2.55 billion this quarter, plus or minus 2 per cent, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement late Thursday. That compares with an average analyst estimate of US$2.53 billion. The company stuck to its prediction for the fiscal year of revenue little changed or down slightly.

Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang is trying to return his company to the growth it showed over the last five years, when revenue more than doubled. To deliver that, he needs for Nvidia’s main business – the graphics chips used in gamer PCs – to emerge from under a pile of inventory that’s held back new orders. In data centers, where Nvidia’s chips have begun to play an increasing role in artificial intelligence computing, Huang is looking for large companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc.’s AWS to return to expanding their infrastructure spending.

Nvidia shares rose more than 5 per cent in extended trading following the report. They ended the day little changed at US$160.19 in New York.

Net income was US$394 million, or 64 cents a share, in the quarter ended April 28, compared with US$1.24 billion, or US$1.98 a share in the same period a year earlier. Sales declined 31 per cent to US$2.22 billion. On average analysts had estimated profit of 56 cents a share on sales of US$2.2 billion.

Nvidia’s run of consecutive revenue gains, which started in 2014, ended in the fourth quarter. Demand for graphics chips used by cryptocurrency miners dried up after the digital-coin market plunged. The resulting excess inventory caused a slowing of orders of the chips that are more typically used by PC gamers to get the most realistic video.

Huang said three months ago that the first quarter would be the bottom for inventory.

In data centers, other chipmakers including Intel Corp., have posted weaker earnings and pointed to lackluster spending by cloud providers who are taking a pause after pouring money into new gear last year.