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Nvidia hits another all-time high as Wall Street gushes over A.I. opportunity

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch says Nvidia will be the dominant supplier in the $30 billion artificial intelligence chip market.
  • Analyst Vivek Arya raises his price target for Nvidia to $210 from $185, which is the second highest behind a $250 forecast from Evercore ISI set on Friday.

Nvidia shares are surging as Wall Street is growing more bullish on the company's artificial intelligence opportunity.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its price target for the chipmaker to the second highest among analyst firms, citing the company's product leadership in the gaming, data center and AI markets.

The move came two days after Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse raised his price target to a Street-high price target on a similar thesis.

"Our positive view on Nvidia is based on its underappreciated transformation from a traditional PC graphics chip vendor, into a supplier into high end gaming, enterprise graphics, cloud, accelerated computing and automotive markets," analyst Vivek Arya wrote in a note to clients Sunday.

"Similar to other large successful tech industries, we expect the $30bn AI chip market to also feature one dominant supplier – we think NVDA."

Nvidia shares opened up 3 percent on Monday. The stock reached an all-time high on Friday, closing at $180.11.

Arya reiterated his buy and "top pick" ratings for Nvidia shares. He raised his price target for the stock to $210 from $185, representing 17 percent upside from Friday's close. He now has the second highest price target on the stock out of more than 30 analysts, according to FactSet. Evercore's Muse is the highest with a $250 12-month forecast.

Bank of America predicts data center capital spending will rise 21 percent in 2018 from an estimated 16.5 percent in 2017. Arya also said Google's AI product is a specialized chip compared with Nvidia's more general purpose processor, which is easier to program for different tasks.

"Incumbency matters and Nvidia has a much wider AI/machine learning ecosystem that will be tough to match," he wrote.

Nvidia's stock is up 187 percent in the past 12 months through Friday compared with the S&P 500's 17 percent gain. That performance ranks No. 1 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

"Separately we note NVDA's first mover advantage and growing influence in the multi trillion $ healthcare industry where AI/deep learning is being used for predictive analytics, image scanning and pathology assessments," the analyst wrote. "Indeed about 50% of submitted papers at last week's Medical Imaging Computing conference (MICCAI) were on deep learning."

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