Forget NVDA, Buy This AI Stock Instead

Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL) is thriving amid the burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, capitalizing on robust adoption. Following a stellar fiscal 2024 fourth-quarter earnings report, Dell’s stock hovers near record highs. Active participation in the AI landscape is propelling the company’s prospects, aligning with the prevailing industry momentum.

Last Friday, DELL's stock witnessed a staggering 30% surge. Investors lauded the company’s AI-driven advancements and heightened demand for its offerings, driving the year-to-date surge to 54%.

The Texas-based tech firm reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $2.20, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $1.72. Additionally, Dell’s revenue amounted to $22.32 billion, exceeding the projected $22.17 billion. Strong data center server sales for generative AI applications offset sluggish PC sales during the period.

During the quarter that ended February 2, 2024, DELL experienced a 10.9% year-over-year decline in revenue to $22.32 billion. However, the company’s net income surged 91.1% from the prior year’s period to $1.16 billion. Despite a 5.8% year-over-year decrease, its Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) contributed $9.33 billion to revenue.

AI-optimized servers emerged as the primary revenue driver, generating $4.86 billion, while storage revenue saw a significant 9.9% sequential rise, contributing $4.48 billion. Servers and networking remained pivotal, underscoring DELL's strategic focus on AI-driven solutions and storage innovations.

Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of DELL, highlighted the company's robust AI-optimized server momentum, citing a nearly 40% sequential increase in orders and a doubling backlog, reaching $2.9 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

Clarke said, “We’ve just started to touch the AI opportunities ahead of us, and we believe Dell is uniquely positioned with our broad portfolio to help customers build GenAI solutions that meet performance, cost and security requirements.”

Turning to cash inflows and the balance sheet, DELL reported a fourth-quarter cash inflow from operations of $1.50 billion, primarily fueled by profitability. The company ended the quarter with $9 billion in cash and investments, and it reached its core leverage target of 1.5x, exiting the fiscal year 2024.

During the quarter, the company repurchased 11.2 million shares of stock and paid a quarterly dividend of $0.37 per share. Furthermore, DELL announced a 20% hike in its annual dividend, now standing at $1.78 per share. The dividend increase surpasses the company’s long-term financial framework and underscores its confidence in the business trajectory and capacity to generate robust cash flow.

Strategic Business Advancements

DELL has been expanding its portfolio to meet diverse customer needs across clouds, on-premises, and at the edge. Enhancements to the Dell Generative AI Solutions portfolio include support for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.’s (AMD) Instinct™ MI300X accelerator in PowerEdge XE9680 servers and a new DELL Validated Design for Generative AI with AMD ROCm™ powered AI frameworks.

New enterprise data storage advancements have also been introduced, with planned validation with the NVIDIA Corporation’s (NVDA) DGX SuperPOD AI infrastructure, facilitating swift access to data for AI workloads using DELL PowerScale systems.

Moreover, the company has unveiled plans for the broadest portfolio of commercial AI laptops and mobile workstations, integrating built-in AI acceleration with neural processing unit (NPU) technology. Additionally, new XPS systems boast NPU integration, enhancing performance, productivity, and collaboration.

Furthermore, DELL has forged a strategic partnership with Nokia Corporation (NOK), becoming its preferred infrastructure partner for Nokia AirFrame customers. The collaboration entails transitioning to DELL PowerEdge servers with comprehensive DELL global services and support.

A Comparative Analysis of DELL and NVDA’s Performance

Following its robust fiscal 2024 fourth-quarter results reported last Thursday, DELL’s stock has surged significantly, showcasing its dominance in AI offerings. The momentum stems from DELL’s utilization of NVDA’s AI-powered GPUs for its servers, aligning with the chip giant's remarkable success.

DELL’s AI-optimized servers integrate graphics processing units (GPUs) from both NVDA and AMD. Clark noted that the heightened demand was across the H100, H800, H200, and MI300X, with the first three GPUs manufactured by NVDA and the last one by AMD.

This development is likely to please NVDA investors, given that the company also reported fourth fiscal quarter earnings surpassing Wall Street's expectations for both earnings and sales. However, its CEO, Jensen Huang, has acknowledged investor concerns regarding the sustainability of this growth and sales level throughout the year.

Furthermore, NVDA’s data center revenue suffered due to recent U.S. constraints on exporting advanced AI semiconductors to China. NVDA’s CFO, Colette Kress, highlighted that despite enhancements in the supply of AI GPUs, shortages are still anticipated, particularly for the upcoming next-generation chip, dubbed B100, slated for shipment later this year.

Additionally, NVDA’s smaller ventures didn’t exhibit the same remarkable growth. Its automotive segment experienced a 4% decline, generating $281 million in sales, while its OEM and other businesses, encompassing crypto chips, saw a mere 7% increase to $90 million.

Moreover, NVIDIA’s valuation is deemed excessively high, positioning DELL as a more favorable investment choice at present.

In terms of forward P/E, DELL is trading at 26.78x, 29.5% lower than NVDA’s 37.96x. DELL's forward EV/Sales of 1.12x is 94.1% lower compared to NVDA’s 18.91x. Additionally, DELL's forward EV/EBITDA of 9.48x contrasts with NVDA’s 29.38x.

Reflecting the heightened demand and growing interest in enterprise AI, DELL’s stock has surged nearly 37% over the past month, outpacing NVDA’s gain of 24%. Furthermore, DELL has skyrocketed more than 155% over the past nine months, while NVDA has gained approximately 119% during the same period.

DELL's Upbeat Fiscal 2025 Projections

DELL's confidence in its fiscal year 2025 outlook stems from three pivotal trends: the escalating momentum in AI, notable enhancements in traditional servers, and the imminent refresh of the aging PC installed base. Against this backdrop, DELL anticipates fiscal 2025 revenue between $91 billion and $95 billion, with a midpoint of $93 billion, reflecting 5% growth, surpassing its long-term value creation framework.

The company anticipates ISG to surge in the mid-teens, driven by AI, with a resurgence in traditional servers and storage. CSG business is forecasted to expand in the low single digits for the year. The amalgamation of ISG and CSG is expected to grow by 8% at the midpoint, counterbalanced by a decline in other sectors.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2025, DELL projects revenue between $21 billion and $22 billion, centered around $21.5 billion, marking a 3% increase. The company anticipates ISG and CSG combined to grow by 5% at the midpoint, with ISG climbing in the mid-to-high teens.

Yvonne McGill, DELL’s CFO, said, “We have strong conviction in the growth of our TAM over the long term, and we are committed to delivering against our long-term financial framework with average annual revenue growth of 3% to 4%, diluted EPS growth of at least 8% and a net income-to-adjusted free cash flow conversion of 100% or better over time.”

She has also emphasized the commitment to returning 80% or more of the adjusted free cash flow to shareholders over the long term.

Bottom Line

DELL, renowned for its PC business, has garnered considerable attention due to increased demand for its resilient servers designed for AI workloads. The fourth-quarter results showcased an enduring interest in DELL’s AI offerings, spotlighting the Dell PowerEdge XE9680 as the fastest-ramping solution in the company’s history.

After DELL’s strong earnings report, analysts have voiced optimism and confidence in the stock’s performance. Morgan Stanley analysts, led by Erik W. Woodring, upheld a Top Pick rating for DELL stock, raising the 12-month target price from $100 to $128.

Additionally, Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Ng has expressed a favorable outlook, suggesting that DELL’s stock is poised to trade higher, buoyed by the stronger-than-expected AI server backlog and improved margins in the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG). That bolsters the bank’s bullish stance on heightened earnings potential and sustained growth amidst robust AI demand.

Industry experts have also emphasized DELL’s position as a clear leader in the AI hardware and services market, citing the company’s ability to swiftly supply high-end server models with accelerators from various silicon providers. Dell’s competitive advantage positions it to capitalize on the early stages of the AI server opportunity, especially in the enterprise-focused market.

Expansion in AI servers will also drive growth in DELL’s storage business. With extensive training conducted using rich data sets, the company’s venture into enterprise territory presents a burgeoning storage opportunity. DELL has enhanced performance concerning latency-sensitive workloads, aligning with enterprise requirements as customers transition from training to inference.

In conclusion, DELL’s outstanding fourth-quarter performance and upbeat fiscal 2025 outlook, propelled by AI server momentum, have instilled investor confidence and received a commendation from analysts. Given NVDA’s slowing revenue growth, regulatory challenges, and alarming valuation, it could be wise to invest in fundamentally sound AI stock DELL instead.