Nvidia gets its most bullish Wall Street call yet from Evercore ISI

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Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer and co-founder of Nvidia, speaks at an International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Jacob Kepler | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer and co-founder of Nvidia, speaks at an International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

One Wall Street firm is getting even more excited about Nvidia, even after the stock’s stunning triple-digit performance the past year.

Evercore ISI raised its price target for the chipmaker to the highest among analyst firms, saying the company’s products will dominate the artificial intelligence computing market.

“We hosted NVDA mgmt. (CEO, CFO and IR) on the road with investors over the last few days … Our sense is management believes that investors still severely underestimates the impact of AI and the size of the potential market,” analyst C.J. Muse wrote in a note to clients Friday. “We are only at the cusp of AI’s growth potential and NVIDIA is creating THE AI computing industry standard.”

Muse reiterated his outperform rating and raised his price target for Nvidia to $250 from $180, representing 48 percent upside from Thursday’s close. He now has the highest price target on the stock out of more than 30 analysts, according to FactSet. Two other firms have the second highest forecast at $200.

The analyst cited how the company spent more than $10 billion in research and development to build its software programming platform, called CUDA, that supports building AI software.

“NVDA has created an industry standard for AI systems that will be nearly impossible to replicate,” he wrote.

Nvidia’s stock is up 170 percent in the past 12 months through Thursday compared with the S&P 500’s 16 percent gain. That performance ranks No. 1 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

“We believe the tremendous growth opportunities led by AI in the Data Center and Automotive verticals supports a clear path to $10 in earnings power over the next 3-5 years,” the analyst wrote.

The company generated earnings per share of $2.57 in fiscal 2017.

Nvidia shares rose 1.3 percent in the Friday premarket session after the call.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

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