Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, February 29, 2020
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AMD Reports Record Revenue but Lowered Forecast Hits Share Price 

Wall Street’s ardor for Advanced Micro Devices cooled somewhat today as the company’s shares, the stock market's top performer the last two years, fell nearly 6 percent to $47.51 after AMD reported a somewhat downbeat forecast with its latest quarterly earnings report.

AMD’s fourth quarter revenue of $2.13 billion was slightly above the analysts’ average predictions of $2.11 billion and a major jump from $1.42 billion YoY, with data center server and gaming processors (two product categories grouped together) falling short of Wall Street expectations. But AMD attributed most of that shortcoming to the gaming segment – while reporting strong growth in data center server processors, AMD’s Epyc CPUs and Radeon GPUs. For the year, AMD reported revenue of $6.73 billion and net income of $337 million.

The drop in the stock price is due to a lowered quarterly forecast. For Q1 2020, AMD expects $1.8 billion in revenue, up 42 percent Y0Y but less than Wall Street expectations of $1.86 billion in sales for the upcoming quarter.

AMD's Lisa Su

Interviewed this morning on CNBC, AMD CEO and President Lisa Su said, “Look, we had a great fourth quarter that capped off a great 2019. We grew 50 percent year on year in the quarter to our highest quarterly revenue and our highest annual revenue ever. All segments grew other than game consoles, which is going through a product transition… We grew strong double digits in the data center, and we continue on our march to grow data center revenue.”

If Su didn’t sound defensive it’s because she has presided over one of the most remarkable corporate comebacks in recent memory. Having joined AMD in 2012 and then promoted to CEO two years later, Su took over a company with stock value hovering below $3 and sinking to $1.67 in 2015. But starting in 2017, AMD chips, including its Epyc server CPUs, began taking market share for industry leader Intel, and currently holds an estimated 12-month lead in process technology over Intel, delivering what AMD loudly proclaims is a significant price-performance advantage over its rival.

During AMD’s earnings call with analysts, Su said the company “grew clients and server processor annual revenue by $1.5 billion in 2019 driven largely by the strongest demand for our 7-nanometer Ryzen and EPYC processors powered by our Zen 2 processor core.” She added that “about half” of fourth quarter revenue “was 7nm-based.”

“In the data center market,” she said, “I would say that the growth of computing continues. From our standpoint, we see it as a good market environment for data center in both cloud as well as enterprise. When we look at our full year revenue guide of approximately 28 percent to 30 percent for the year, the highest growth from a percentage standpoint will obviously be server just given the expectations in that market.”

AMD five-year stock chart

“AMD had a very solid Q4 and record revenue for 2019,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy. “Highlights for Q4 2019 included an incredible 50 percent revenue growth driven mostly by Ryzen desktop and laptop and Radeon discrete graphics, which was up 69 percent. The company said it had ‘strong Epyc sales,’ which I believe grew triple digits.”

AMD earnings follows an upbeat earnings report last week from Intel, in which the company announced record annual revenue of $72 billion and net income of $21 billion.

Driven by its product line enhancements and exploding demand in the data center and hyperscale server markets, AMD stock has more than tripled since two years ago at this time, from $12.95 per share; since a year ago, the stock have risen just under 150 percent.

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