Nvidia surges after multiple Wall Street upgrades

Shares of Nvidia popped as much as 5% Tuesday amid a swath of upgrades from Wall Street firms.

Several sell-side research analysts at major firms are eyeing a buying opportunity after shares slid massively following Nvidia’s temporary stoppage of self-driving car tests and a meltdown in cryptocurrency prices. (The company later confirmed the fatal Tesla crash did not involve any Nvidia products.)

In a note to clients Tuesday, Morgan Stanley said the semiconductor is “trading at a discount to high growth tech sectors, shorter-term drivers in gaming offset crypto weakness, and progress in data center and Inference expands the long-term opportunity.”

The bank says the recent selloff has brought Nvidia back to healthier multiples, and assumed a price-to-equity ratio of 35x going forward in its models. Comparable software stocks with similar growth rates trade between 39x and 82x.

“If we are wrong from here, we don’t think it would be about the multiple,” Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore said.

Amid the height of the crypto craze in late 2017 into early, Nvidia graphics processing units were selling out at stores nationwide as would-be cryptocurrency miners gobbled up the supply that was normally only popular among PC gamers.

Now just two of the 36 analysts polled by Bloomberg have a sell-rating on the stock, with an average price target of $US250 a share – roughly 11% above the current price of $US226. Morgan Stanley maintained its bullish target of $US258 while upgrading the stock to overweight.

“Shorter term, we have highlighted that we would use cryptocurrency related headwinds to find a buying opportunity, and we make the case here that this slowdown actually comes at an opportune time as strong gaming & a new product cycle fill the gap,” Moore said.

Needham & Co. analyst Rajvindra Gill also gave the stock a $US300 price target on Tuesday, one day after Evercore analyst C.J. Muse said the stock “offers a tremendous buying opportunity.”

Nvidia more than doubled in 2017, and was one of the best-performing US equities last year. It’s up another 11% so far in 2018.

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