Earnings Results: Nvidia sales hit records again amid chip shortage, and earnings outlook suggests more to come

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Nvidia Corp. broke several quarterly sales records and forecast revenue growth as much as $ 1 billion above Wall Street estimates for the current quarter Wednesday, as the gaming and data-center chip company faces continued demand amid a chip shortage.

For the fiscal second, or current, quarter, Nvidia NVDA, +0.33% forecast revenue of $ 6.17 billion to $ 6.43 billion, while analysts surveyed by FactSet have forecast revenue of $ 5.47 billion on average.

“In our data-center business, right now our product lineup couldn’t be better,” said Colette Kress, Nvidia’s chief financial officer, when prompted by analysts on a conference call to elaborate on the outlook. “We have a strong overall portfolio, both for training and for inferencing, and we’re seeing strong demand across our hyperscales and vertical industries.”

“We’ve made a deliberate effort on the gaming perspective to supply to our gamers the cards that they would like given the strong demand that we see,” Kress said. “So that will also support the sequential growth that we’re receiving.”

In the fiscal first quarter, gaming sales rallied 106% to a record $ 2.76 billion, surpassing the previous high mark of $ 2.5 billion, while analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected Nvidia gaming sales of $ 2.72 billion.

“We expect to remain supply-constrained into the second half of the year,” Kress said.

To address that short supply, Nvidia has worked to deter cryptocurrency miners from using its gaming chips for mining rigs. Early in the first quarter, the company launched a chip designed for cryptocurrency mining; sales of the so-called CMP chips came in at $ 155 million.

More recently, Nvidia said it would tweak the performance of its new gaming cards to make them specifically less attractive to miners. While cryptocurrencies like bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.76% and ethereum ETHUSD, +1.34% are off about 40% from their recent records, they’re still trading at eye-popping gains, compared with a year ago.

On the whole, Nvidia reported first-quarter net income of $ 1.91 billion, or $ 3.03 a share, compared with $ 917 million, or $ 1.47 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings, which exclude stock-based compensation expenses and other items, were $ 3.66 a share, compared with $ 1.80 a share in the year-ago period.

Revenue soared to a record $ 5.66 billion, up 84% from $ 3.08 billion in the year-ago quarter. In April, Nvidia upped its forecast to be trending above its $ 5.3 billion forecast, compared with February when the company offered a range of $ 5.19 billion to $ 5.41 billion. In the previous quarter, which included holiday sales, sales topped $ 5 billion for the first time, even as global chip-supply shortages and high demand hampered sales across the industry.

Read: The semiconductor shortage is here to stay, but it will affect chip companies differently

Analysts had estimated adjusted earnings of $ 3.29 a share on revenue of $ 5.4 billion. Shares fluctuated between slight gains and declines after hours, and dipped as much as 2% during the conference call. That followed a 0.3% rise in the regular session to close at $ 628.

On the data-center side, sales surged 79% to a record $ 2.05 billion from the year-ago period, while analysts expected sales of $ 2 billion.

“We’re seeing strength across the board in data centers and we’re seeing strengthening demand,” said Chief Executive Jensen Huang on the conference call. “From scientific computing, both physical and life sciences, data analytics and classical machine learning, cloud computing and cloud graphics — which is becoming more important because of remote work — and very importantly AI, both for training as well as a inferencing for classical machine-learning models.”

Also, Nvidia’s Kress updated investors on the company’s planned acquisition of microprocessor-design company Arm Ltd. for $ 40 billion from Softbank Group Corp. 9984, -1.03%, that was announced back in September.

“On our Arm acquisition, we are making steady progress in working with the regulators across key regions,” Kress said. “We remain on track to close the transaction within our original timeframe of early 2022.”

Read: Worldwide chip shortage expected to last into next year, and that’s good news for semiconductor stocks

Amid supply shortages, the chip industry has consistently turned in strong earnings this season, with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, +0.62% faring better in the data-center space than Intel Corp. INTC, +0.09%, while Qualcomm Inc. QCOM, -0.49% topped Street expectations following a series of downgrades.

Over the past 12 months, Nvidia shares have climbed 80%, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index SOX, +0.20% has gained 73%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.19% has risen 40%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.59% has gained 47%. The company recently announced its first stock split in 14 years after massive gains. Nvidia shares last closed at a record high on April 15 at $ 645.49.