(Adds details on Microsoft, Intel; updates stock move)
By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Nvidia fell 3 percent on Thursday ahead of its quarterly earnings report, amid a broad market drop and despite expectations of strong revenue growth on demand for its chips from a wave of interest in cryptocurrencies.
The Santa Clara, California company’s expansion into cars, cloud computing and artificial intelligence has been richly rewarded with a 186-percent stock surge over the past year, the strongest performance across the benchmark S&P 500 index.
But even a strong quarterly report may not be enough to drive additional short-term gains, warned Joel Kulina, a technology stock trader at Wedbush in Toronto.
“My gut is to the downside,” Kulina said. “If it traded up 10 percent tonight, I’d be floored.”
Nvidia’s drop on Thursday accompanied a 1.6 percent slump in the Nasdaq and a 1.1 percent decline in the S&P 500.
The company’s second-quarter results, due out after the close of the U.S. stock market, are likely to be lifted by demand related to Nintendo’s Switch videogame console and cryptocurrency “miners,” Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis wrote in a research note on Tuesday.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses encryption techniques for security and can be sold for money. Miners use computers to process cryptocurrency transactions, and they are rewarded with additional cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin made cryptocurrencies popular in recent years, but newer technologies, including Ethereum, have sparked a wave of mining using high-end gaming graphics cards. These cards are made with chips from Nvidia and rival Advanced Micro Devices, with some products selling out.
Following its second-quarter report, AMD said cryptocurrency miners contributed to strong demand for its chips.
Analysts, on average, expect Nvidia to report revenue growth for the quarter through July of 37 percent to $1.96 billion and adjusted earnings per share of 70 cents, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Nvidia recently traded at 52 times expected earnings, compared to an earnings multiple of 57 for AMD and 12 for Intel .
Underscoring growing interest from technology heavyweights, Microsoft on Thursday announced it was working on blockchain, a public book-keeping system central to cryptocurrencies. Chipmaker Intel said in press release it was working with Microsoft on the project.
“Intel is an active participant in the blockchain revolution,” it said. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)