Long-Term vs. Short-Term: The Investment Dilemma with Palantir (PLTR)

Palantir Technologies Inc. (PLTR), a prominent data-analytics software company, is at a crossroads, presenting a dilemma for investors grappling with the dichotomy between its promising long-term growth potential supported by its strategic AI initiatives and the short-term risks posed by its elevated valuation and volatility.

Long-Term Growth Potential: Riding the AI Wave

Palantir has established itself as a leading player in data analytics, leveraging its sophisticated software platforms to cater to diverse sectors, including government, healthcare, and finance.

Bloomberg Intelligence report projects generative AI to be a $1.30 trillion market by 2032, growing at a CAGR of roughly 43% over the next ten years. Surging demand for generative AI products could add around $318 billion in software spending by 2032. PLTR is well-poised to capitalize on industry trends as businesses continue to prioritize data analytics and AI integration into their operational frameworks.

In mid-2023, PLTR launched its Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP) to help corporations develop and deploy AI applications, which has proven highly successful. AIP leverages machine learning and AI technologies to transform data into actionable insights, enabling organizations to make better decisions and optimize their operations.

Later last year, the company introduced AIP Bootcamps, a hands-on-keyboard acceleration program for customers to go from zero to use case in just a few hours. Since its launch, approximately 850 AIP Bootcamps have been completed in the U.S. and worldwide — with concentrations of customers in Detroit, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., and more.

Earlier this month, PLTR and Tampa General Hospital (TGH), one of the nation’s leading academic health systems, announced a significant step forward in their long-term partnership to deliver an ambitious vision for the future of AI in healthcare. TGH plans to deploy Palantir’s AIP to provide a Care Coordination Operating System. Also, it will leverage this platform to bring automation to other system workflows, like streamlining revenue cycle management.

In May, Palantir’s subsidiary, Palantir USG, Inc., was selected by the Department of Defense Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) to participate in scaling data analytics and AI capabilities across the Department of Defense. Beginning with an initial order of $153 million to support specific Combatant Commands and the Joint Staff, further awards may reach up to $480 million over a span of 5 years.

Also, PLTR and Intelligent power management company Eaton extended their partnership to bring Palantir’s AIP to Eaton’s operations.

Palantir’s First-Quarter Results Signal Robust Enterprise AI Adoption

For the first quarter that ended March 31, 2024, PLTR reported revenue of $634.34 million, beating analysts’ estimate of $617.61 million. That compared to the revenue of $525.19 million in the same quarter of 2023. The company’s commercial revenue rose 27% from the year-ago value to $299 million, and its government revenue grew 16% year-over-year to $335 million.

Palantir’s U.S. commercial revenue grew 40% year-over-year to $150 million. The U.S. commercial customer count increased 74% from the prior year’s period to 262 customers. The rapid growth in the company’s U.S. commercial division is aided by the robust demand for its new Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP). PLTR intends to make its AIP the most dominant infrastructure in the market and power the effective deployment of AI and LLMs across institutions.

The data analytics software maker’s adjusted income from operations was $226 million, an increase of 81% year-over-year, and represented a margin of 13%. It is the sixth consecutive quarter of expanding adjusted operating margins. PLTR’s adjusted EBITDA rose 76% from the previous year’s quarter to $234.90 million.

Palantir’s adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders rose 83.4% from the prior year’s period to $196.94 million. The company posted an adjusted EPS of $0.08, up 60% year-over-year. That surpassed the consensus EPS estimate by 4.1%. Further, PLTR’s adjusted free cash flow was $148.63 million for the quarter, representing a 23% margin.

Business Outlook

For the second quarter of fiscal 2024, PLTR expects revenue of between $649-$653 million. Also, the company’s adjusted income from operations is expected to be $209 million to $213 million.

For the full year 2024, the data analytics software giant increased its revenue guidance to between $2.677-$2.689 billion. However, the mid-point figure still fell short of $2.70 billion. Palantir raised its U.S. commercial revenue guidance in excess to $661 million, representing a growth rate of at least 45%. Further, the company increased its guidance for adjusted income from operations to between $868-$880 million.

Short-Term Risks: Stretched Valuation

Despite its compelling long-term prospects, Palantir has not been immune to market volatility and scrutiny over its valuation. In terms of forward non-GAAP P/E, PLTR is trading at 74.40x, 220.5% higher than the industry average of 23.22x. Likewise, the stock’s forward EV/Sales and EV/EBITDA of 18.95x and 56.04x are significantly higher than the respective industry averages of 2.91x and 14.59x.

Additionally, the stock’s forward Price/Sales of 20.27x is 609.6% higher than the industry average of 2.86x. Its forward Price/Cash Flow multiple of 66.52 is 183.2% higher than the industry average of 23.49.

Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. analyst Brian White recently downgraded Palantir’s stock to Sell from Neutral and set a $20 price target. Following a challenging earnings season for enterprise software companies, the analyst believes the market will shift away from stocks with inflated valuations.

PLTR’s stock, which surged around 167% in 2023 and continued to rally in the first half of 2024 with a nearly 43% gain year-to-date, has raised alarms among investors and analysts alike as they believe its valuation has reached a gluttonous extreme. Last month, the company filed a solid quarterly report, but shares plunged anyway, with Wall Street underlining the stretched valuation.

The stock was down approximately 6% over the past five days, while the S&P 500 index declined marginally.

Bottom Line

A nuanced approach is advisable for investors while approaching PLTR stock to balance potential returns with near-term risks. Investors with a long-term horizon and high-risk tolerance may find Palantir an attractive investment. PLTR’s AI expertise, strategic partnerships, and ongoing technological innovation position the company to capitalize on favorable industry trends.

Given the recent volatility and valuation concerns highlighted by analysts like Brian White, conservative investors may opt for caution in the short term. Market corrections or shifts in investor sentiment toward high-growth stocks could lead to price adjustments, potentially offering better entry points for those considering PLTR.

Before making investment decisions, thorough due diligence is essential. Assessing Palantir’s financial health, competitive positioning, and market dynamics can provide a better understanding of its risk-reward profile. So, while its AI capabilities and expanding market reach present a compelling case for long-term potential in PLTR, investors are advised to remain vigilant of short-term volatility and inflated valuation impacting stock performance.

Chinese EV Companies: Top Leaders in the Global Shift to Electric Vehicles

In the rapidly evolving landscape of electric vehicles (EVs), Chinese manufacturers are emerging as dominant players, reshaping global markets traditionally led by Western automakers. As the U.S. and Europe impose tariffs and trade barriers, China’s EV upstarts are strategically expanding into developing markets, including Brazil, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.

In May, the Biden administration announced plans to slap new tariffs on Chinese EVs, advanced batteries, and other goods intended to protect U.S. manufacturers. Moreover, the European Commission (EU) will impose extra duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese electric cars starting in July, raising concerns about possible retaliation from Beijing.

According to data compiled by technology intelligence firm ABI Research for Business Insider, Chinese automakers have already established significant dominance in several emerging markets. In Brazil, China’s carmakers captured around 88% of the EV market, while in Thailand, they held a 70% share during the first quarter.

Despite their current small size, the EV markets in most of these countries are experiencing rapid growth.

Chinese EV companies such as BYD Company Limited (BYDDY), NIO Inc. (NIO), and XPeng Inc. (XPEV) are at the forefront of this transformation, leveraging technological prowess and strategic market expansions to solidify their positions worldwide.

BYD Company Limited (BYDDY)

With a $95.78 billion market cap, BYD Company Limited (BYDDY) is one of China’s leading automobile manufacturers that engages in new EVs and power batteries internationally. The company operates in two segments: Mobile Handset Components, Assembly Service and Other Products; and Automobiles and Related Products and Other Products.

BYDDY’s strategic approach combines technological leadership, market diversification, and strategic partnerships and investments to solidify its position as a frontrunner in the global EV industry. The company has expanded its footprint in regions, including Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and Southeast Asia, capitalizing on growing world demand for EVs.

According to ABI Research figures, BYD accounted for about 71% of EV sales in Brazil and 45% in Thailand in the first quarter.

On May 16, BYD launched its first pickup truck, BYD SHARK, in Mexico. BYD SHARK is positioned as a new energy-intelligent luxury pickup featuring the DMO Super Hybrid Off-road Platform. This model represents the latest addition to BYD's product range, tailored for global markets, marking the company’s first global product launch outside China.

Stella Li, Executive Vice President of BYD and CEO of BYD Americas, said, “With the introduction of our inaugural new energy pickup, BYD SHARK, we’re poised to redefine the conventional fuel pickup landscape through advanced technology, providing users with a lifestyle characterized by boundless opportunities. BYD is now ushering in the era of the global new energy pickup.”

Also, in March, BYDDY launched its third electric car, Seal, a premium electric sedan with a price starting at around $49,458, in India’s booming EV market. In 2023, the company sold 1,877 cars in India, an increase of 314% year-over-year.

Notably, in the same month, BYD Company became the world’s first automaker to roll off its seven millionth new energy vehicle, the DENZA N7, which was introduced at its Jinan factory in China, underscoring another groundbreaking accomplishment for the brand.

For the first quarter that ended March 31, 2024, BYDDY’s operating revenue increased 4% year-over-year to RMB124.94 billion ($17.20 billion). Net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company rose 10.6% from the year-ago value to RMB4.57 billion ($629.28 million). Its earnings per share came in at RMB1.57, up 10.6% from the previous year’s quarter.

Analysts expect BYDDY’s revenue and EPS for the fiscal year (ending December 2024) to increase 25.7% and 15.9% year-over-year to $104.92 billion and $3.14, respectively. For the fiscal year 2025, the company’s revenue and EPS are expected to grow 13.3% and 9.2% from the prior year to $118.86 billion and $3.43, respectively.

BYDDY’s stock is up nearly 14% over the past month and has gained more than 11% year-to-date.

NIO Inc. (NIO)

With a $9.27 billion market cap, NIO Inc. (NIO) has gained prominence for its focus on high-performance, smart EVs and innovative battery-swapping technology. Based in Shanghai, China, the company provides five and six-seater electric SUVs, as well as smart electric sedans. It also offers power solutions, including Power Home, Power Swap, Power Charger and Destination Charger, Power Mobile, Power Map, and more.

Besides its solid presence in China, NIO has established footholds in global markets such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Europe, aiming to capitalize on the growing demand for luxury EVs. Moreover, NIO plans to expand to the Middle East in 2024, CEO William Li stated on an earnings call, adding that deliveries of its lowest-priced brand will begin in the first half of the following year.

On April 8, NIO officially inaugurated its Smart Driving Technology Center in Schönefeld near Berlin. It is the first center outside China, underscoring the company's expanding international footprint.

NIO delivered 20,544 vehicles in May, indicating a substantial increase of 233.8% year-over-year. The deliveries comprised 12,164 premium smart electric SUVs and 8,380 premium smart electric sedans. Also, in April, the company delivered 15,620 vehicles. As of May 31, 2024, cumulative deliveries of NIO vehicles reached a staggering 515,811.

“Despite the intensifying market competition, NIO’s premium brand positioning, industry-leading technologies, and innovative ‘chargeable, swappable, upgradeable’ power experience have been recognized for their exceptional competitiveness, leading to solid sequential growth in vehicle deliveries in recent months,” said William Bin Li, chairman and CEO of NIO.

“In April 2024, we launched the 2024 ET7 Executive Edition, featuring 180 upgrades tailored to the needs of business travelers and professionals, further enhancing our competitiveness in the premium sedan market. In addition, with a commitment to create better family life, our new smart electric vehicle brand, ONVO, along with its inaugural product L60, was unveiled in May 2024,” he added.

Further, NIO extended its strategic cooperation on battery swapping by collaborating with GAC Group and FAW Group. These add to NIO’s existing network of strategic alliances with Changan Automobile, Geely Group, JAC Group, Chery Automobile, and Lotus Technology. NIO remains dedicated to advancing its evolving battery-swapping ecosystem, aiming to deliver efficient and convenient recharging solutions for its customers.

During the first quarter that ended March 31, 2024, NIO reported vehicle sales of $1.16 billion, and its total revenues were $1.37 billion. Its gross profit grew 200.5% from the prior year’s quarter to $67.60 million. As of March 31, 2024, the company’s cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, short-term investment and long-term time deposits stood at $6.30 billion.

Analysts expect NIO’s revenue for the fiscal year (ending December 2024) to increase 21.4% year-over-year to $9.38 billion. Likewise, the company’s revenue for the fiscal year 2025 is anticipated to grow 43.7% year-over-year to $13.48 billion. Also, NIO’s stock has surged approximately 2% over the past five days.

XPeng Inc. (XPEV)

With a $7.48 billion market capitalization, XPeng Inc. (XPEV) designs, develops, and markets Smart EVs in China that appeals to the large, growing base of tech-savvy consumers. It provides SUVs under the G3, G3i, and G9 names; four-door sports sedans under the P7 and P7i names; and family sedans under the P5 name.

XPeng’s competitive pricing appeals to budget-conscious consumers without compromising quality or innovation. The company has expanded its operations into Europe and Southeast Asia, leveraging local partnerships and market insights to adapt its offerings to regional preferences.

XPEV delivered 10,146 Smart EVs in May, an increase of 35% year-over-year and 8% over the previous month. The XPENG X9 notably achieved monthly deliveries of 1,625 units, reaching a cumulative total of 11,456 units. Since its launch, it has continuously led sales in both the all-electric MPV and three-row model segments in China. XPENG has delivered 41,360 Smart EVs year-to-date, marking a 26% rise year-over-year.

On May 20, XPEV launched XOS 5.1.0, Tianji, the industry’s first AI-powered in-car OS. It features end-to-end large model technology, promoting the smart driving experience for XPENG car owners. The company will offer intelligent and personalized in-car AI assistant services through AI assistant Xiao P, AI Chauffeur, and AI Bodyguard. The recent launch outlines XPeng’s new market positioning as the global pioneer and promoter of AI smart driving.

In the first quarter that ended March 31, 2024, XPEV’s total revenues increased 62.3% year-over-year to $910 million, and revenues from vehicle sales were $770 million, up 57.8% from the prior year’s quarter. The company’s gross margin was 12.9% for the first quarter, compared to 1.7% for the same period of 2023. As of March 31, 2024, its cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, short-term investments and time deposits were $5.73 billion.

XPENG’s physical sales network reached 574 stores, covering about 178 cities as of March 31, 2024. Also, its self-operated charging station network had a total of 1,171 stations, including 359 XPENG S4 ultra-fast charging stations, at the end of the first quarter.

Xiaopeng He, Chairman and CEO of XPENG, further stated, “Through our strategic partnership with the Volkswagen Group, XPENG is at the forefront of monetizing in-house developed smart technologies as a technology enabler. Our industry-leading technologies are expected to gain greater market influence and yield better financial returns.”

Street expects XPEV’s revenue for the second quarter (ending June 2024) to increase 63.2% year-over-year to $1.13 billion. Similarly, the consensus revenue estimate for the fiscal year (ending December 2024) of $6.12 billion indicates an improvement of 43.6% year-over-year. Also, the company has topped the consensus revenue and EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters.

Shares of XPEV have surged more than 7% over the past five days.

Bottom Line

China’s EV newcomers seem to be strategizing for global dominance. They are expanding into developing markets, including Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, and India, amid tariff and trade barriers imposed by the U.S. and Europe.

Chinese manufacturers like BYDDY, NIO, and XPEV are leveraging their technological prowess and strategic market expansions to establish themselves as leaders in the global EV industry. These companies lead in cost-effective manufacturing and are at the forefront of advancements in battery technology, autonomous driving, and user-centric design.

With ambitious global expansion plans and a commitment to sustainability, these China-based EV giants are poised to reshape the automotive industry, setting new standards for electric mobility worldwide.

Why Broadcom’s (AVGO) 10-for-1 Stock Split Could Attract a New Wave of Investors

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), a prominent player in the semiconductor industry, announced a 10-for-1 forward stock split set to take effect on July 15, 2024, taking advantage of a rally in its shares this year. This decision comes on the heels of an outstanding second-quarter performance, underscoring Broadcom’s strategic positioning amid the burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) revolution.

Understanding Stock Split Mechanics and Strategic Implications for Broadcom

A stock split involves dividing each existing share into multiple shares, effectively lowering the share price proportionally while maintaining the company’s total market capitalization. In AVGO’s case, each shareholder will receive nine additional shares for every one share held, resulting in a tenfold increase in the number of outstanding shares.

The primary objective of a stock split is to make shares more affordable and accessible to a wide range of retail investors by reducing the nominal share price. Given Broadcom’s share price surpassing $1,800 recently, the split aims to address perceived affordability barriers that may have deterred investors.

The increased accessibility can broaden AVGO’s investor base, potentially stimulating demand for its shares. Consequently, a higher number of outstanding shares resulting from the stock split typically leads to higher trading volumes. This enhanced liquidity can benefit both existing and new investors, allowing for easier entry and exit from positions.

Comparison with NVIDIA’s Recent Similar Move

Broadcom’s stock split mirrors a similar move by NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), its rival in the AI hardware market. With more individual investors gaining access to Nvidia’s shares post-split, which came into effect at the close of trading on June 7, increased trading activity and demand were observed, potentially driving share prices higher.

NVIDIA’s stock is trading above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages of $99.28 and $68.61, respectively. NVDA’s successful split this month was preceded by significant market gains, highlighting the strategic timing of Broadcom’s decision to capitalize on investor sentiment surrounding the AI and semiconductor sectors.

Historically, stock splits are viewed as a bullish signal. According to data from BofA research, total returns for companies announcing stock splits are about 25% in the 12 months after a stock split compared to 12% gains for the S&P 500 index.

Broadcom’s Unprecedented Growth Amid the AI Boom

With a $839.05 billion market cap, AVGO is a technology leader that develops and supplies semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions. The company manufactures sophisticated networking chips for handling vast amounts of data used by AI applications such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, positioning it as one of the beneficiaries of increased enterprise investments in the boom.

According to Grand View Research, the global AI market is projected to reach $1.81 trillion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 36.6% during the forecast period (2024-2030). As AI continues to revolutionize industry verticals, including automotive, healthcare, retail, finance, and manufacturing, chipmakers like Broadcom are at the forefront, providing the essential chips that power AI applications.

Broadcom’s second-quarter results were primarily driven by AI demand and VMware. For the quarter that ended May 5, 2024, AVGO’s net revenue increased 43% year-over-year to $12.49 billion. Its revenue surpassed the consensus estimate of $12.01 billion. Revenue from its AI products was a record $3.10 billion during the quarter. Broadcom reported triple-digit revenue growth in the Infrastructure Software segment to $5.29 billion as enterprises increasingly adopted the VMware software stack to build their private clouds.

AVGO’s gross margin grew 27.2% from the year-ago value to $7.78 billion. Its non-GAAP operating income rose 32% year-over-year to $7.15 billion. Furthermore, the company’s non-GAAP net income came in at $5.39 billion or $10.96 per share, up 20.2% and 6.2% year-over-year, respectively. Its EPS exceeded the analysts’ expectations of $10.84.

Also, the company’s adjusted EBITDA grew 30.6% from the prior year’s quarter to $7.43 billion. It reported a free cash flow, excluding restructuring and integration, of $4.45 billion, up 18% year-over-year. As of May 5, 2024, AVGO’s cash and cash equivalents were $9.81 billion.

After an outstanding financial performance, Broadcom raised its fiscal year 2024 guidance. The company expects full-year revenue of nearly $51 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA is expected to be approximately 61% of projected revenue.

Favorable Analyst Estimates

Analysts expect AVGO’s revenue for the third quarter (ending July 2024) to grow 45.6% year-over-year to $12.92 billion. The consensus EPS estimate of $12.11 for the current quarter indicates a 14.9% year-over-year increase. Moreover, the company has surpassed the consensus revenue and EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, which is impressive.

For the fiscal year ending October 2024, Street expects Broadcom’s revenue and EPS to grow 43.4% and 13% year-over-year to $43.37 billion and $47.74, respectively. In addition, the company’s revenue and EPS for the fiscal year 2025 are expected to increase 15.3% and 25.6% from the previous year to $59.22 billion and $59.95, respectively.

Bottom Line

As AI continues to revolutionize several sectors, chipmakers such as Broadcom are at the forefront, offering essential semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions powering this technology. Driven by robust AI demand and VMware, AVGO reported solid second-quarter performance, exceeding analysts’ estimates for revenue and earnings.

The management expressed confidence in the company’s growth prospects by raising the company’s fiscal year 2024 guidance for revenue to $51 billion and adjusted EBITDA to 61% of revenue. Moreover, AVGO’s strong financial health enabled it to approve a quarterly dividend of $5.25 per share, payable on June 28, 2024.

The company pays an annual dividend of $21 per share, which translates to a yield of 1.17% on the current share price, while its four-year average dividend yield is 2.69%. Its dividend payouts have grown at CAGRs of 12.9% and 17.5% over the past three and five years, respectively. Broadcom also raised its dividend payouts for 13 consecutive years.

In the last quarterly earnings release, AVGO announced a ten-for-one forward stock split of its common stock, making ownership of Broadcom stock more accessible to investors. The company’s decision to execute a stock split represents a strategic move to enhance shareholder value and broaden investor participation.

By making its shares more accessible and increasing liquidity, Broadcom positions itself to attract a diverse array of investors keen on capitalizing on the AI-driven semiconductor boom. The stock split is a pivotal catalyst that could propel AVGO’s growth trajectory forward, cementing its status as a critical player in the evolving tech industry.

In a report released on June 16, William Stein from Truist Financial maintained a Buy rating on AVGO, with a price target of $2,045. Further, Oppenheimer’s Rick Schafer increased the price target on Broadcom from $1,500 to $2,000 while maintaining a Buy rating on the stock.

In addition to Oppenheimer’s rating update, other analysts adjusted their price targets for AVGO. Goldman Sachs’ Toshiya Hari raised the price target from $1,550 to $1,850 and maintained a Strong Buy rating. Also, JP Morgan’s Harlan Sur raised the price target from $1,700 to $2,000 and maintained a Strong Buy rating on the stock.

In conclusion, for investors eyeing opportunities in the dynamic intersection of AI and semiconductor sectors, Broadcom’s ten-for-one stock split presents a compelling avenue to consider, backed by sound fundamentals and strategic foresight.

How Micron Technology Is Poised to Benefit from AI Investments

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues revolutionizing industries worldwide, including healthcare, retail, finance, automotive, manufacturing, and logistics, driving demand for advanced technology and infrastructure. Among the companies set to benefit significantly from this AI boom is Micron Technology, Inc. (MU), a prominent manufacturer of memory and storage solutions.

MU’s shares have surged more than 70% over the past six months and nearly 104% over the past year. Moreover, the stock is up approximately 12% over the past month.

This piece delves into the broader market dynamics of AI investments and how MU is strategically positioned to capitalize on these trends, offering insights into how investors might act now.

Broader Market Dynamics of AI Investments

According to Grand View Research, the AI market is expected to exceed $1.81 trillion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 36.6% from 2024 to 2030. This robust market growth is propelled by the rapid adoption of advanced technologies in numerous industry verticals, increased generation of data, developments in machine learning and deep learning, the introduction of big data, and substantial investments from government and private enterprises.

AI has emerged as a pivotal force in the modern digital era. Tech giants such as Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) are heavily investing in research and development (R&D), thereby making AI more accessible for enterprise use cases.

Moreover, several companies have adopted AI technology to enhance customer experience and strengthen their presence in the AI industry 4.0.

Big Tech has spent billions of dollars in the AI revolution. So far, in 2024, Microsoft and Amazon have collectively allocated over $40 billion for investments in AI-related initiatives and data center projects worldwide.

DA Davidson analyst Gil Luria anticipates these companies will spend over $100 billion this year on AI infrastructure. According to Luria, spending will continue to rise in response to growing demand. Meanwhile, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives projects continued investment in AI infrastructure by leading tech firms, “This is a $1 trillion spending jump ball over the next decade.”

Micron Technology’s Strategic Position

With a $156.54 billion market cap, MU is a crucial player in the AI ecosystem because it focuses on providing cutting-edge memory and storage products globally. The company operates through four segments: Compute and Networking Business Unit; Mobile Business Unit; Embedded Business Unit; and Storage Business Unit.

Micron’s dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and NAND flash memory are critical components in AI applications, offering the speed and efficiency required for high-performance computing. The company has consistently introduced innovative products, such as the HBM2E with the industry’s fastest, highest capacity high-bandwidth memory (HBM), designed to advance generative AI innovation.

This month, MU announced sampling its next-generation GDDR7 graphics memory with the industry’s highest bit density. With more than 1.5 TB/s of system bandwidth and four independent channels to optimize workloads, Micron GDDR7 memory allows faster response times, smoother gameplay, and reduced processing times. The best-in-class capabilities of Micro GDDR7 will optimize AI, gaming, and high-performance computing workloads.

Notably, Micron recently reached an industry milestone as the first to validate and ship 128GB DDR5 32Gb server DRAM to address the increasing demands for rigorous speed and capacity of memory-intensive Gen AI applications.

Furthermore, MU has forged strategic partnerships with prominent tech companies like NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) and Intel Corporation (INTC), positioning the company at the forefront of AI technology advancements. In February this year, Micron started mass production of its HBM2E solution for use in Nvidia’s latest AI chip. Micron’s 24GB 8H HBM3E will be part of NVIDIA H200 Tensor Core GPUs, expected to begin shipping in the second quarter.

Also, Micron's 128GB RDIMMs are ready for deployment on the 4th and 5th Gen Intel® Xeon® platforms. In addition to Intel, Micron’s 128GB DDR5 RDIMM memory will be supported by a robust ecosystem, including Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE), and Supermicro, among many others.

Further, in April, MU qualified a full suite of its automotive-grade memory and storage solutions for Qualcomm Technologies Inc.’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis, a comprehensive set of cloud-connected platforms designed to power data-rich, intelligent automotive services. This partnership is aimed at helping the ecosystem build next-generation intelligent vehicles powered by sophisticated AI.

Robust Second-Quarter Financials and Upbeat Outlook

Solid AI demand and constrained supply accelerated Micron’s return to profitability in the second quarter of fiscal 2024, which ended February 29, 2024. MU reported revenue of $5.82 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $5.35 billion. This revenue is compared to $4.74 billion for the previous quarter and $3.69 billion for the same period in 2023.

The company’s non-GAAP gross margin was $1.16 billion, versus $37 million in the prior quarter and negative $1.16 billion for the previous year’s quarter. Micron’s non-GAAP operating income came in at $204 million, compared to an operating loss of $955 million and $2.08 billion for the prior quarter and the same period last year, respectively.

MU posted non-GAAP net income and earnings per share of $476 million and $0.42 for the second quarter, compared to non-GAAP net loss and loss per share of $2.08 billion and $1.91 a year ago, respectively. The company’s EPS also surpassed the consensus loss per share estimate of $0.24. During the quarter, its operating cash flow was $1.22 billion versus $343 million for the same quarter of 2023.

“Micron delivered fiscal Q2 results with revenue, gross margin and EPS well above the high-end of our guidance range — a testament to our team’s excellent execution on pricing, products and operations,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, MU’s President and CEO. “Our preeminent product portfolio positions us well to deliver a strong fiscal second half of 2024. We believe Micron is one of the biggest beneficiaries in the semiconductor industry of the multi-year opportunity enabled by AI.”

For the third quarter of 2024, the company expects revenue of $6.60 million ± $200 million, and its gross margin is projected to be 26.5% ± 1.5%. Also, Micron expects its non-GAAP earnings per share to be $0.45 ± 0.07.

Bottom Line

MU is strategically positioned to benefit from the burgeoning AI market, driven by its diversified portfolio of advanced memory and storage solutions, strategic partnerships and investments, robust financial health characterized by solid revenue growth and profitability, and expanding market presence.

The company’s recent innovations, including HBM3E and DDR5 RDIMM memory, underscore the commitment to advancing its capabilities across AI and high-performance computing applications.

Moreover, the company’s second-quarter 2024 earnings beat analysts' expectations, supported by the AI boom. Also, Micron offered a rosy guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2024. Investors eagerly await insights into MU’s financial performance, strategic updates, and outlook during the third-quarter earnings conference call scheduled for June 26, 2024.

Braid Senior Research Analyst Tristan Gerra upgraded MU stock from “Neutral” to “Outperform” and increased the price target from $115 to $150, citing that the company has meaningful upside opportunities. Gerra stated that DRAM chip pricing has been rising while supply is anticipated to slow. Also, Morgan Stanley raised their outlook for Micron from “Underweight” to “Equal-Weight.”

As AI investments from numerous sectors continue to grow, Micron stands to capture significant market share, making it an attractive option for investors seeking long-term growth in the semiconductor sector.

The Financial Implications of Amazon's New World Console Launch

Amazon.com, Inc.’s (AMZN) MMORPG, New World, initially a sensation upon its 2021 release, is poised to splash on consoles later this year. Developed by Amazon Games Orange County, New World faced challenges post-launch, including long queue times and lackluster content to overpriced microtransactions and bleak plot threads.

Despite a rocky start, ongoing updates and significant expansions, such as 2022’s Brimstone Sands, have steadily improved the game's standing. Now, gamers on next-gen consoles will soon have the opportunity to experience these enhancements firsthand.

During the Summer Game Fest hosted by Geoff Keighley, Amazon Games unveiled that New World will make its console debut on October 15, 2024, under the new title New World: Aeternum. This major update introduces crossplay functionality, enabling players to team up with friends across different platforms. However, it will not support cross-progression, meaning characters will remain locked to the platform on which they were created.

The game’s controls and user interface have been redesigned to suit controllers better, and Amazon Games promises to maintain update parity across PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S from October onwards.

The rebranding to New World: Aeternum signals significant content enhancements and gameplay improvements. This update will revamp the initial game experience with more cutscenes, an enriched dialogue system, and an option for solo play. Also, it will introduce new features such as a larger PvP zone, swimming, endgame solo trials, and a 10-player raid.

Christoph Hartmann, Vice President of Amazon Games, emphasized the importance of player feedback in their development process. "Listening to player feedback is fundamental to how we make games, and we know New World: Aeternum delivers on the promise of a fresh and compelling New World experience that players can enjoy together across platforms," he said.

The game's transition to consoles comes with a price tag of $59.99 for digital copies, ensuring access for both console and PC players. Existing owners of the base game and the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion on Steam will receive Aeternum at no extra cost. However, those with only the base game must purchase the expansion to access the new content. An $80 deluxe edition will also offer a unique Bear mount and armor skin.

This console release marks a strategic move by Amazon Games to revitalize the game's player base and expand its audience. With these updates, New World: Aeternum aims to carve a new path in the MMO genre and reshape the financial landscape for Amazon's gaming division.

Upcoming titles from Amazon Games also feature the next major entry in the Tomb Raider series by Crystal Dynamics and THRONE AND LIBERTY, developed by NCSOFT.

Financial Dynamics of New World's Console Launch

In the first quarter that ended March 31, 2024, Amazon’s net sales increased 12.5% year-over-year to $143.31 billion, beating analysts’ expectations by $763.92 million. The company's ad revenue climbed to $11.8 billion from $9.5 billion, while cloud computing sales, for the first time, were on track to hit $100 billion annually.

Its operating income improved by 220.6% from the year-ago value to $15.31 billion. The company’s net income of $10.43 billion or $0.98 per share indicates robust growth of 228.8% and 216.1% from the prior year’s period, respectively. This EPS figure came comfortably above the Street’s estimate of $0.83.

“It was a good start to the year across the business, and you can see that in both our customer experience improvements and financial results,” Andy Jassy, Amazon’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The company's financial prowess extended beyond robust top and bottom-line figures, with its trailing-12-month operating cash flow soaring by 82% year-over-year to $99.15 billion. Likewise, its free cash flow also saw a significant turnaround in the same period, with an inflow of $50.15 billion, compared to an outflow of $3.32 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2023.

Against this backdrop, the release of New World: Aeternum on consoles is poised to drive substantial revenue growth. The game, priced at $59.99, targets the growing base of next-gen console owners, many of whom may not have access to high-end gaming PCs. This strategic move presents an opportunity for Amazon Games to tap into a new market segment and expand its customer base and, consequently, its revenue through game sales.

Moreover, the expanded player base on consoles creates opportunities for increased microtransaction sales. Despite initial criticism over pricing, microtransactions remain a lucrative revenue stream for gaming companies. The influx of players on consoles and engaging new content and improved features are expected to bolster microtransaction sales, ensuring a steady cash flow for Amazon Games.

Looking ahead, the long-term financial implications of this console launch are promising. Successful MMORPGs often sustain revenue streams through continuous updates and expansions. If New World: Aeternum can attract and retain a substantial player base on consoles, Amazon Games stands to benefit from ongoing revenue streams generated by content updates, seasonal events, and future expansions.

Bottom Line

AMZN's robust financial performance, coupled with the strategic launch of New World: Aeternum on consoles, underscores the company's position as a critical player in the competitive gaming industry. The expansion into the console market broadens Amazon Games' reach and opens new avenues for revenue growth through increased player engagement and microtransactions.

With the potential for sustained profitability driven by a growing player base and ongoing content updates, Amazon's foray into the gaming industry signifies a significant opportunity for long-term investors seeking exposure to a rapidly evolving and lucrative market segment.