Buy Nvidia because A.I. is ‘killer app’ for its chips: Analyst

Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017.

Tyrone Siu | Reuters

Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017.

Nvidia shares will soar due to the company’s booming chip sales in new high-growth technology markets, according to a one Wall Street firm.

Needham reiterated its buy rating on the chipmaker’s shares and raised its price target to match the highest of the 34 research shops that cover the stock, saying Nvidia’s products will dominate the artificial intelligence and autonomous driving markets.

Nvidia’s “24-year history in parallel processing and the development of its ubiquitous CUDA platform has uniquely positioned the company to capitalize on the explosion of ‘intelligence machines’ – hundreds of millions of AVs [autonomous vehicles] and trillions of IoT [internet of things] devices, all of which will generate significant network complexity and network consumption,” analyst Rajvindra Gill wrote in a note to clients Friday entitled “Entering A World Where Software Will Write Itself: AI Is the Killer App for GPU.”

“We’ve already seen tangible evidence of pervasive GPU [graphics processing unit] adoption across all the major cloud / Hyperscale OEMs as well major enterprise vendors such as Oracle and SAP using NVDA’s Volta AI platform for machine learning.”

Gill raised his price target for Nvidia shares to $250 from $200. The new target is 31 percent higher than Thursday’s closing price and matches Evercore ISI as the most bullish target on Wall Street.

The analyst cited how only 15 of the world’s top 500 supercomputers use GPU chips. He predicts 100 percent of these supercomputers will be GPU accelerated over the next five years.

The company announced this week its Pegasus artificial intelligence computer system, which will enable fully autonomous robotaxis.

“Virtually all carmakers, transportation as a service companies, as well as startups are using NVIDIA AI in the development of Level 5 vehicles,” he wrote.

Nvidia shares have rallied nearly 190 percent during the previous 12 months through Thursday, compared with the market’s 20 percent gain. That performance ranks first in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

Its shares are up 1 percent midday Friday after the report.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

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