AMD struggles to take on Intel

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gave a lackluster forecast for the current period, suggesting gains against larger chip rival Intel Corp. may take longer than investors had hoped.

Revenue in the first three months of the year will be about $1.8 billion, plus or minus $50 million, Santa Clara, California-based AMD said Tuesday in a statement. That would fall short of the average analyst estimate of $1.87 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

AMD also said sales will increase 28% to 30% in 2020. Analysts, on average, projected annual revenue growth of 28%.

Shares slipped about 3% in extended trading after the earnings report. The stock has surged to more than $50 this year, up from less than $3 at the end of 2015, as investors bet that the company’s new products, and manufacturing stumbles by Intel, would open the door to sustained market share gains.

Though the quarterly outlook disappointed some investors, AMD’s revenue growth forecast reflects strong demand for server chips from cloud data center operators and personal computer makers, mirroring Intel’s report from last week.

“We delivered significant margin expansion and increased profitability as we gained market share with our Ryzen and EPYC processors,” Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said in the statement. “Our focused execution and the investments we made in our high-performance computing roadmaps position us well for continued growth in 2020 and beyond.”

AMD’s shares gained 148% last year making them the best performer on the S&P 500 Index. Earlier Tuesday, the stock closed up 2.6% at $50.53.

AMD has said it’s targeting double-digit market share in servers by the middle of this year. The company is trying to reclaim a meaningful position in that lucrative market after dropping to less than 1%. Server computers are the backbone of corporate networks and the giant data centers that run the internet. Chips that power them can cost more than $10,000 each.

Intel’s server chip unit grew 19% in the fourth quarter and revenue from cloud-service providers, which offer computing power and storage via the internet, surged 48%. Intel’s data center business gets more revenue in a quarter than the whole of AMD reports in year.

Both companies have benefited from persistently strong demand for personal computers. Global PC shipments rose 2.3% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter as companies upgraded to a new version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, according to research firm Gartner Inc. AMD has an even greater ability to cash in on this as it’s also the second-largest maker of chips used in computer graphics cards.

On Tuesday, AMD said fourth-quarter net income rose to $170 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with $38 million, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, profit in the period was 32 cents a share. Revenue gained 50% to $2.13 billion. Analysts had projected profit of 30 cents a share on sales of $2.1 billion.

AMD Has Been on a Very Strong Run

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AMD struggles to take on Intel