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Nvidia Tops Estimates for Sales, Profit on Game-Chip Rebound

Ian King

(Bloomberg) -- Nvidia Corp.’s second-quarter sales and profit topped analysts’ estimates, suggesting that a slump in orders may be easing amid a revival in demand for graphics chips and parts used in data centers. The stock rallied in late trading.

Revenue in the quarter that ended July 28 was $2.58 billion and profit excluding certain costs was $1.24 a share, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Analysts, on average, had estimated adjusted earnings of $1.14 a share on sales of $2.54 billion.

Sales in all business lines rose from the previous quarter, Nvidia said, a sign the company is addressing challenges that had stalled growth. Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang has argued that a slowdown in orders for computer-gaming chips and processors for artificial intelligence tasks was temporary as customers worked through stockpiles of unused parts.

Revenue has now shrunk from a year earlier for three straight quarters, and Nvidia forecast another decline of about 9% for the current period. Still, the 17% contraction in the second quarter was narrower than some analysts had projected, and the rate of decline is slowing. That may indicate customers are beginning to place new orders again.

Gaming-chip sales came in at $1.3 billion, up 24% sequentially. Revenue from Nvidia’s second-biggest business, data center, climbed 3.3% from the prior period to $655 million.

According to some estimates, that rebound in data-center revenue fell short. Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers had predicted unit sales of $685 million, and he wrote in a note that the consensus estimate was about $669 million. On a conference call to discuss results, Nvidia executives faced multiple questions on the prospects for the business.

On the call, Huang said demand for graphics chips used in servers was improving across the board, excluding a couple of so-called hyperscale data-center operators who don’t give Nvidia much insight into their plans. He declined to say when the business will return to annual growth, but maintained his optimism that artificial intelligence computing is the biggest-ever opportunity for his company.

Nvidia’s detractors say that stiffer competition is the cause of the company’s struggles, but Huang said rivals aren’t eroding growth. Nvidia pioneered the use of graphics chips to run AI software in data centers, while Nvidia GeForce processors have been the main choice for PC gamers wanting the highest resolution action. Now, Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are offering rival products in these markets.

“The competition should show up with something,” he said in an interview. “AI is going to be a large market for everybody and the growth is ahead of us. The bottom is behind us.”

Nvidia shares rose more than 6% in extended trading following the report. Earlier, they slipped about 1% to close at $148.77 in New York.

Net income in the second quarter was $552 million, or 90 cents a share, down from $1.1 billion, or $1.76, in the same period a year earlier.

The company said sales in the current period will be about $2.9 billion, plus or minus 2%. That compares with an average analyst estimate for revenue of $2.98 billion, according to a Bloomberg survey. Adjusted gross margin will be 62.5%, Nvidia said.

(Updates with CEO comments in eighth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr

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