AMD Reports Earnings Tuesday. It’s All About the Data Center.


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Courtesy AMD

When chip designer Advanced Micro Devices reports earnings Tuesday after the closing bell, investors are expecting a 266% increase in per-share profit and a near doubling in revenue.

Amid chip shortages crippling the global economy, investors have lofty expectations for semiconductor businesses.

For

AMD

(ticker: AMD), the company’s ability to top high expectations may come down to its revenue from data center chips. That data-center market is rich with opportunity for AMD, after the launch delay of a new advanced server chip from rival

Intel

(INTC).

Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis wrote that, according to his team’s industry checks, AMD’s Milan server chips are set to take a significant amount of market share from Intel in the second half of the year.

AMD executives have issued consistently bullish guidance. In April, the company forecast that revenue would be up 86% in the second-quarter, to approximately $3.6 billion. Analysts currently expect second-quarter adjusted profit of 54 cents a share on revenue of $3.6 billion.

Wall Street expects AMD to deliver computer and graphics segment revenue of $2.2 billion and enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom revenue of $1.4 billion. The company’s semi-custom business includes chips designed for new videogame consoles sold by

Microsoft

(MSFT) and

Sony

(SNE).

AMD has previously said it expects full-year 2021 revenue to grow about 50% from last year.

AMD’s growth potential could be limited by difficulties in obtaining materials and components necessary for chip making, as well as securing additional capacity from its contract manufacturers, including

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

(TSM). BMO Capital Markets analyst Ambrish Srivastava wrote that data center demand could be hurt by component shortages and some of the materials necessary to manufacture chips.

Because AMD shares trade at a high multiple—42 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months—Srivastava said that the company would need to top Wall Street expectations by a “meaningful” amount and again raise its full-year guidance to move the stock higher.

AMD has reported better-than-expected per-share profit for the past four quarters. It has missed revenue estimates only once in the past two years.

Outsize expectations and bullish forecasts from executives haven’t done much to help AMD’s stock recently. After soaring in 2020, AMD shares are flat this year, while the

PHLX Semiconductor index

is up 17%.

Among Wall Street analysts covering AMD, 25 rate the stock at Buy, 15 at Hold, and three at Sell. The average target price is $102.35, 11% above a recent close of $91.82.

Write to Max A. Cherney at max.cherney@barrons.com

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