Growth stocks have been having a painful 2022. And with another big Federal Reserve rate hike on the way, the market volatility is likely to continue. However, longer-term investors can seize the opportunity by investing at discounted prices in broader technological trends. One such opportunity is in quantum computing stocks.
Quantum computing aims to reimagine the future of advanced calculations. Historically, computing power has grown at a predictable rate largely constrained by Moore’s Law. This is the observation that as the number of transistors on a semiconductor chip tends to double every two years, the cost of computing drops by half. This has long governed the pace of innovation in the computing industry.
However, we’re hitting physical limits regarding the size of fabrication technologies. To deliver further exponential gains, a new computing technique will be needed. Enter quantum computing. According to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) fact sheet, “Quantum computers harness the unique behavior of quantum physics — such as superposition, entanglement, and quantum interference — and apply it to computing.”
If successfully applied at a commercial scale, this new technique could offer breakthroughs in fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, computation chemistry and autonomous driving. Here are seven quantum computing stocks that should stand to benefit.
International Business Machines
Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)
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Many discussions of quantum computing start with Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) stock. In 2019, Google announced that it had achieved quantum supremacy when its quantum computer Sycamore rapidly calculated a problem that would take existing supercomputers thousands of years to achieve.
This claim has since come under fire. In 2022, Chinese scientists responded, saying they had built a classical computer that could achieve the calculation in a similar period of time and outperform Sycamore. As happens on the cutting edge of science, a great deal of rivalry and competition remains.
In any case, Google’s announcement set off a land rush in the quantum computing space. Google has a unique position in that, if its Sycamore project has increasing success, it can leverage that across a wide variety of other futuristic ventures such as artificial intelligence, healthcare and autonomous driving. It may take a long time for any quantum computing venture to add much to Google’s revenue given how massive the core search and advertising business is by comparison.
However, GOOGL stock is clearly part of the quantum computing conversation.
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Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has its sights on a number of next-generation technology applications. One of these is quantum computing. Nvidia appears to be marketing itself as a picks-and-shovels sort of way to get exposure to the industry.
It can do this via creating quantum simulations. Here’s the company’s explanation: “NVIDIA cuQuantum is an SDK of optimized libraries and tools for accelerating quantum computing workflows. Using NVIDIA GPU Tensor Core GPUs, developers can use cuQuantum to speed up quantum circuit simulations based on state vector and tensor network methods by orders of magnitude.”
NVDA stock has had a rough 2022 so far, with shares losing half their value year to date. Prices for graphics cards are dropping as the backlog from gaming clears up and demand from the cryptocurrency community diminishes. Nvidia could face a rough time into 2023 given the current macroeconomic headwinds. However, its innovations in emerging fields such as quantum computing demonstrate that the company has a lot to look forward to in spite of its present challenges.
International Business Machines (IBM)
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International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) has been working on developing its own quantum computing systems for quite awhile. And it’s had a significant amount of success to date. Its Hummingbird computing system hits 65 qubits of operating capability in 2020. IBM is aiming to top 1,000 qubits within the next couple of years. The capacity of qubits is a key consideration for when this technology may reach commercial viability.
Investors might be skeptical of IBM’s abilities here. After all, the company has long touted Watson, its artificial intelligence-powered computer system which answers questions posed to it in natural language. Watson has proven adept in winning at games such as chess and Jeopardy, but has not achieved the levels of commercial prominence that IBM stock bulls might have previously hoped.
Will IBM’s quantum computing venture follow a similar path? Only time will tell.
However, IBM retains a highly profitable core business while having one of the most powerful research and development teams in the world. Items such as IBM’s quantum computing arm serve as upside options that could suddenly cause IBM stock to move to higher.
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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) used to be known for missing several key technological trends, such as smartphones. However, it has gotten much better about leading new movements. The firm’s early and decisive entrance into cloud services with Azure has been exceptionally successful. And now Azure is giving Microsoft a beachhead into quantum computing.
Microsoft is building a quantum ecosystem within Azure. Both through Microsoft’s own internal products and with its partners, Microsoft offers quantum computing solutions to its customers.
This is easier for customers, since they can get access to quantum computing solutions through their existing cloud hosting instead of having to get a physical quantum computer. It also creates immense lock-in for Azure in an increasingly competitive cloud computing industry. Quantum computing is still in its infancy and it remains to be seen exactly how customers will end up using and paying for this technology.
However, Microsoft’s leading position across both office software and cloud computing should naturally transfer to leadership in quantum as well.
Rigetti Computing (RGTI)
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The final three quantum computing stocks to buy are pure plays. It should be noted from the top that these are far riskier than the others on the list. These companies have failed to generate meaningful revenues or fully proven their business models yet.
Rigetti Computing (NASDAQ:RGTI), in particular is one of the main SPACs that recently went to market related to quantum computing. Rigetti claims to have some of the most powerful quantum computing technology out there. And it has impressive research partnerships with organizations such as the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Energy.
Rigetti only generated $8.2 million in revenues in 2021, and is expected to bring in around $12 million this year. The company is likely still years away from generating substantial commercial demand. However, for pureplay quantum computing stocks, Rigetti is one to watch, and shares are certainly discounted after a 75% decline from their initial price.
D-Wave Quantum (QBTS)
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D-Wave Quantum (NYSE:QBTS) is the newest of the quantum computing stocks to come to market. It recently completed its SPAC merger with DPCM Capital. QBTS stock has dipped from $10 to $8 in its first month of trading, giving new investors a discount today.
D-Wave is based in Vancouver and has been in business since 1999. D-Wave Quantum is still in the early stages of monetization, with just $8 million of projected revenues for this year.
However, the company has some strong metrics in other regards. It has more than 200 U.S. patents, 100 scientific published papers, and a top-five overall patent portfolio within the quantum computing space. D-Wave claims to have more than 100 customers and offers the first real-time quantum computing platform. It remains to be seen how successful D-Wave will be. However, as a recent SPAC with a limited trading float, shares could pop on any sort of positive developments.
This is by far the most controversial pick on this list. IonQ (NYSE:IONQ) claims to have “the world’s most powerful quantum computer.” Short seller firm Scorpion Capital, however, called the company a “brazen scam” in an exhaustive, 183-page report. For investors that aren’t quantum physicists, it can be hard to evaluate the merits of the company’s technology and the ensuing short-seller claims.
What we do know is that IonQ has generated scant revenues so far. Even by its own admission, there’s a long path ahead before it develops enough qubits to generate substantial commercial demand and finally reach profitability. It’s also been easy for short sellers to go after SPACs with unproven business models. Many of Scorpion’s points about the company’s current financials could be correct without invalidating its entire technology platform.
In any case, IONQ stock remains the single largest holding in the Defiance Quantum ETF (NYSEARCA:QTUM) as of Sept. 12. For investors willing to speculate on a high-risk, high-reward quantum computing stock, IONQ stock is certainly cheaper now than it was a year ago.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in IBM stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.
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