Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why Nvidia’s Stock Split Could Drive Further Market Gains

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NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) shares topped a record high of $1000 in a post-earnings rally. Last week, the company reported fiscal 2025 first-quarter results that beat analyst expectations for revenue and earnings, reinforcing investor confidence in the AI-driven boom in chip demand. Moreover, the stock has surged nearly 120% over the past six months and more than 245% over the past year.

Meanwhile, the chipmaker announced a 10-for-1 forward stock split of NVIDIA’s issued common stock, making stock ownership more accessible to employees and investors.

Let’s delve deeper into how NVIDIA’s stock split decision could attract more investors and propel future gains.

The AI Chip Leader

NVDA’s prowess in AI and semiconductor technology has been nothing short of remarkable. Its GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) have become synonymous with cutting-edge AI applications, from powering self-driving cars and training and deploying LLMs to revolutionizing healthcare diagnostics and e-commerce recommendation systems.

Amid a rapidly evolving technological landscape, NVIDIA has consistently remained at the forefront, driving innovation and redefining industry standards. Led by Nvidia, the U.S. dominates the generative AI tech market. ChatGPT’s launch in November 2022 played a pivotal role in catalyzing the “AI boom.”

NVDA holds a market share of about 92% in the data center GPU market for generative AI applications. The company’s chips are sought after by several tech giants for their diverse applications and high performance, including Amazon (AMZN), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), and Tesla, Inc. (TSLA).

Nvidia surpassed analyst estimates for revenue and earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2025, driven by robust demand for its AI chips. In the first quarter that ended April 28, 2024, NVIDIA’s revenue rose 262% year-over-year to $26.04 billion. That topped analysts’ revenue expectations of $24.59 billion. The company reported a record revenue from its Data Center segment of $22.60 billion, up 427% from the prior year’s quarter.

“Our data center growth was fueled by strong and accelerating demand for generative AI training and inference on the Hopper platform. Beyond cloud service providers, generative AI has expanded to consumer internet companies, and enterprise, sovereign AI, automotive and healthcare customers, creating multiple multibillion-dollar vertical markets,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVDA.

“We are poised for our next wave of growth. The Blackwell platform is in full production and forms the foundation for trillion-parameter-scale generative AI,” Huang added. 

NVDA’s non-GAAP gross profit grew 328.2% from the year-ago value to $20.56 billion. The company’s non-GAAP operating income was $18.06 billion, an increase of 491.7% from the prior year’s quarter. Its non-GAAP net income rose 461.7% year-over-year to $15.24 billion.

Furthermore, the chipmaker reported non-GAAP EPS of $6.12, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.58, and up 461.5% year-over-year.

Nvidia’s Stock Split: A Strategic Move

Alongside an outstanding fiscal 2025 first-quarter earnings, NVDA announced a 10-for-1 stock split of its issued common stock. Nvidia’s decision to split its stock aligns with a broader trend among tech giants to make their shares more appealing to a wider range of investors, particularly retail investors. The chipmaker aims to democratize ownership and attract a vast investor base by breaking down the barrier of high share prices.

As more individual investors gain access to Nvidia’s shares post-stock split, we could see heightened trading activity and increased demand, potentially exerting upward pressure on its share prices. This strategic move reflects the confidence of NVIDIA’s management in its future growth trajectory and underscores its commitment to inclusivity in the investment landscape.

Bank of America analysts, led by Jared Woodward, head of the bank’s research investment committee, described the share split as “another large-cap tech pursuing shareholder-friendly policies” in a note to clients.

NVIDIA marks the fourth Magnificent Seven big tech companies to announce a stock split since 2022, following Google, Amazon, and Tesla’s efforts to make shares more accessible, according to Woodward and his team.

In recent years, as the share prices of several Big Tech companies surged past the $500 mark, it has become challenging for retail investors to buy shares. Consequently, these companies have been exploring ways to simplify the process for nonprofessional investors to buy in. BofA added, “Big Tech is going bite-sized” to lure retail investors, which might signal more market-beating returns.

Historical Data Suggests That Stock Splits Indicate a Bullish Outlook

Examining historical data on stock splits reveals a generally positive picture. While immediate post-split gains aren’t guaranteed, companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google have witnessed substantial appreciation in their share prices following splits. AAPL’s 4-for-1 stock split, which took effect in August 2020, primarily influenced investor sentiment and trading dynamics.

Following the split, Apple’s stock continued its upward trajectory, driven by solid performance in its core businesses, including iPhone sales, services revenue, and wearables. Throughout the latter half of 2020 and into 2021, its share price experienced significant appreciation, reaching new all-time highs.

Given NVIDIA’s robust fundamentals and leadership in AI and semiconductor technology, there’s reason to believe that its recent stock split could lead to similar outcomes.

BofA’s sell-side analysts have consistently been bullish on Nvidia shares, and following the first-quarter earnings release, they raised their lofty 12-month price target for the chip giant from $1,100 to $1,320. If the outlook proves accurate, Nvidia shares could surge by another 26%, and the stock split could support that bullish move, as per Bank of America’s reading of history.

“Splits have boosted returns in every decade, including the early 2000s when the S&P 500 struggled,” noted Woodard and his team. BofA’s research indicates that stocks have delivered 25% total returns within the 12 months following a stock split historically, compared to the S&P 500’s 12%.

Further, the bank highlighted that stock splits often ignite bullish runs, even in stocks that have been underperforming. For example, both Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) experienced significant share price increases after announcing stock splits despite their prior poor performance. According to analysts, “Since gains are more common and larger than losses on average, splits appear to introduce upside potential into markets.”

However, it’s essential to heed the standard caveat the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provided: “Past performance is not indicative of future results.” In line, Bank of America emphasized that “outperformance is no guarantee” after a stock split. Companies still witness negative returns 30% of the time following a split, with an average decline of 22% over the subsequent 12 months.

The analysts noted, “While splits could be an indication of strong momentum, companies can struggle in a challenging macro environment.” They pointed to companies like Amazon, Google, and Tesla that faced difficulties in the 12 months following their stock splits in 2022 due to a high interest-rate environment.

Bottom Line

NVDA has a significant role as a global leader in AI and semiconductor technology, with its GPUs driving innovations across numerous industries, such as tech, automobile, healthcare, and e-commerce. Nvidia’s fiscal 2025 first-quarter results suggest that demand for its AI chips remains robust.

Statista projects the global generative AI market to reach $36.06 billion in 2024. This year, the U.S. is expected to maintain its position as the leader in AI market share, with a total of $11.66 billion. Further, the market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 46.5%, resulting in a market volume of $356.10 billion by 2030. The AI market’s bright outlook should bode well for NVDA.

The company also recently made headlines with its announcement to undergo a 10-for-1 stock split. While stock splits generally do not change the fundamental value of a company, they make its shares more accessible and attractive to retail investors. So, the recent stock split could significantly increase retail participation, driving heightened trading activity and potentially exerting upward pressure on Nvidia’s share prices.

Historically, stock splits generally indicate a positive impact on stock performance. Companies like AAPL, GOOGL, and AMD experienced substantial price appreciation after stock splits, with enhanced accessibility to retail investors driving higher demand and liquidity.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that past performance is not indicative of future results. While stock splits can signal strong price momentum, they do not guarantee outperformance.

In conclusion, Nvidia’s stock split will likely attract more retail investors, potentially boosting increased trading activity and stock price appreciation. Coupled with the company’s strong position in the AI and semiconductor markets, the stock split could facilitate further growth, aligning with historical trends of positive post-split performance.

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