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After Spectre Disclosure, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.’s Big Gains Could Be Over

Brad Moon

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) posted a statement on Thursday admitting its CPUs are vulnerable to both Spectre variant 1 and Spectre variant 2. As a result, AMD stock dropped by as much as 4% in after-hours trading.

The fallout from Meltdown and Spectre continues to roil the computer industry. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has taken the brunt of the punishment to date. And it was initially believed that AMD processors were at less risk from Spectre. The first variant of Spectre was being patched, and the company indicated zero risk of the second and third known variants. Since the public announcement of Meltdown and Spectre on January 3, the belief that AMD processors were in the clear has pushed AMD stock to big gains. 

With this announcement, however, that AMD stock run could be coming to an end. 

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AMD Admits to Spectre Vulnerability

AMD was in a good position to take advantage of the Meltdown and Spectre situation.

Meltdown did not affect AMD chips, and only one of the three known variants of Spectre were a concern. With Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ:MSFT) quickly rolling out a Windows security update that patched Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1, AMD’s original position was that its processors were pretty much in the clear.

In a statement about the Spectre variants, AMD said:

“The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants. Due to differences in AMD’s architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors at this time.”

This position helped to boost AMD stock at the same time that Intel’s was sliding.

Then, the first signs of trouble arrived with reports that Microsoft’s Windows security patch for Meltdown and Spectre was bricking some PCs with AMD chips, rendering them unbootable. Microsoft had to halt the security update for AMD-based computers.


The real problem began on January 11, when AMD released a statement updating its position on Spectre. In the statement, AMD admits that its CPUs are not only affected by Spectre Variant 1, but also Variant 2. AMD will release firmware updates for its Ryzen and Epyc processors and will begin working on a fix for early generation CPUs.

The company still claims to be in the clear on Spectre Variant 3.

Potential Impact for AMD Stock

Since the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were first announced on January 3, Intel and AMD have been seen very differently.

Intel has been in the spotlight as being at the center of the mess. Not only are all Intel CPUs are affected by all the vulnerabilities, but its processors are in nearly 80% of all PCs. Intel’s issues simply affect more people and businesses. And Intel’s CEO dumping $20 million in stock before Meltdown and Spectre were made public did not help matters.

AMD, on the other hand, played up the architectural differences between its CPUs and Intel’s. The company used wording like “near zero risk” that gave the impression all was clear.

So while, Intel stock dropped as much as 9%, AMD stock enjoyed gains of up to 12% since the crisis first began.

The Meltdown and Spectre effect may begin to level out now that AMD has come clean about Spectre Variant 2. At the very least, it seems as though AMD stock will be seeing a correction.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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