In a research note to clients after the close of trading Thursday, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves upped his price target to $250 from $240, implying shares can gain an additional 18% based on Thursday’s closing price of $211.61. Shortly after NVIDIA reported third-quarter earnings earlier in November, RBC had raised its price target to $240 from $230. In early morning trading, shares of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker were trading up $2.06 or 0.97% to $213.67. (See also: If You Had Invested In NVIDIA Right After Its IPO.)
The RBC analyst said he was prompted to lift his price target yet again, saying the earnings beat for the third quarter has increased his optimism for the stock. "Overall, after a single quarter of out-performance the 2020 upside case increases by 10%," Steves wrote in the note, which was covered by Marketwatch.
For its third quarter, NVIDIA reported earnings and revenue that handily beat Wall Street expectations. EPS for the three-month period came in at $1.33 compared to the $0.94 expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue of $2.64 billion also blew past the $2.36 billion in revenue Wall Street was looking for. Revenue was up 32% compared to a year ago while earnings increased 41%. The chipmaker also lifted its dividend 7% to $0.15 a share and said it will return $1.25 billion to shareholder over the course of the next fiscal year. For the fourth quarter, NVIDIA expects revenue of $2.65 billion, which is higher than the consensus, which stood at $2.44 billion. (See also: Why NVIDIA's Stock Faces a Growth Crisis.)
Since the start of the year, NVIDIA’s stock has been high flying, more than doubling so far in 2017. The company is not only benefiting from gamers who use its graphics chips for their high-end entertainment but from data center wins, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and cryptocurrency mining. Analysts have been rewarding its growth and diversification strategy by lifting their price targets on the stock and issuing bullish note after bullish note. But it's not only analysts that think shares of the company are poised to go higher. According to Investopedia’s analysis, options traders are also betting shares will continue their ascent. The options, set to expire Jan. 19, 2018, show traders are buying calls betting NVIDIA's stock price will rise. The long straddle options strategy using the $215 strike price suggests that shares could rise or fall by nearly 12.5% from their current stock price of around $214, giving the stock a trading range of roughly $189 to $241. The call activity is outpacing the puts, implying traders think shares will be on the rise by January.