November 9, 2017 / 9:28 PM / in a month

Chipmaker Nvidia tops estimates on gaming, data center boost

(Reuters) - Nvidia Corp’s NVDA.O quarterly profit and revenue topped market estimates and the chipmaker also gave a strong revenue forecast for the current quarter, powered by demand for its graphics chips used in gaming and data centers.

A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RC1C8FF654B0

The company’s shares were up 2.5 percent in extended trading on Thursday. Their roughly 92-percent surge this year has made them the third-best performing stock on the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX.

The strength in Nvidia’s data center in the third quarter comes after a disappointing showing in the previous quarter and on the heels of rival Intel Corp INTC.O showcasing its strength in the same market two weeks back.

Nvidia gets the bulk of its revenue from gaming, for which it is best known. But its growth hinges on new areas, especially its data center business, where its customers include Amazon.com Inc’s AMZN.O Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Corp’s MSFT.O Azure.

Revenue from the business, Nvidia’s second-biggest revenue contributor, more than doubled to $501 million in the quarter and easily beat analysts’ estimate of $474.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We’ve been steadfast with the excitement of accelerated computing for data centers. And I think this is just the beginning of it all,” Chief Executive Jensen Huang said on an analyst call.

Nvidia’s gaming revenue increased 25.5 percent to $1.56 billion, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total revenue. That also beat analysts average estimate of $1.31 billion.

“Gaming is one of the fastest-growing entertainment industries and we’re well-positioned for the holidays,” Huang said.

Huang also played down a recent announcement by bitter rivals Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.O and Intel to partner to take on Nvidia in graphic chips for PCs.

AUTOMOTIVE NOT YET RELEVANT

Nvidia has also expanded its reach in automobiles, from making chips for infotainment systems, to unveiling its first chip for self-driving cars in October. Another source of demand has been from increasing interest in cryptocurrency mining.

But Huang sought to temper expectations of a drive from that demand, echoing his own remarks and those from rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc AMD.O two weeks back.

“The longer-term way to think about that is crypto is small for us but not zero. And I believe that crypto will be around for sometime, kind of like today,” Huang said.

Revenue from Nvidia’s automotive business rose 13.3 percent to $144 million, falling shy of estimates of $149.8 million.

But analysts were not worried.

“While automotive is an important long-term growth driver for NVDA, investors’ near-term focus is on the growth metrics of gaming and data center end-markets,” Loop Capital Markets analyst Betsy Van Hees said in an e-mail.

Nvidia’s total revenue rose 31.5 percent to $2.64 billion, and profit surged 54.6 percent to $838 million, or $1.33 per share, in the quarter ended Oct. 29.

Analysts’ on average were expecting a profit of 94 cents per share on revenue of $2.36 billion.

The company forecast fourth-quarter revenue of $2.65 billion, plus or minus 2 percent, which translates to a range of $2.60 billion to $2.70 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.44 billion.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Savio D'Souza

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