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Buy Nvidia, market’s hottest stock, on its gaming, A.I. prowess: Citi

  • Citi Research raises its price target for Nvidia shares, predicting the company will generate earnings significantly above expectations next year.
  • "We expect Nvidia stock to grow into its multiple on strong earnings growth over the next three years, and exposure to some of the fastest growth secular end markets likes deep learning, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars," the firm's analyst says.
  • It boosted its price target for Nvidia to $210 from $185.

Another Wall Street firm is getting even more bullish on Nvidia, even after the stock's amazing market-leading run during the past year.

Citi Research reiterated its buy rating and raised its price target for Nvidia shares, predicting the chipmaker will generate earnings significantly above expectations next year.

Nvidia shares rose 2 percent shortly after Friday's market open after the report.

"We expect Nvidia stock to grow into its multiple on strong earnings growth over the next three years, and exposure to some of the fastest growth secular end markets likes deep learning, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars," analyst Atif Malik wrote in a note to clients Friday.

Nvidia's stock is up 161 percent in the past 12 months through Thursday compared with the S&P 500's 17 percent gain. That performance ranks No. 1 in the entire S&P 500, according to FactSet.

Malik increased his price target for Nvidia to $210 from $185, representing 19.5 percent upside from Thursday's close.

The analyst cited the company's data center cloud computing deals with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent announced on Monday.

In addition, the firm recently surveyed 342 U.S. gamers. It found 83 percent of consumers who intend to buy a graphics card are planning to purchase Nvidia cards, up from 75 percent in the previous March survey.

"Our updated proprietary gaming survey indicates limited threat of new AMD ... Vega graphics cards keeping our above consensus C17/18 gaming sales expectations intact," he wrote.

Malik estimates Nvidia will generate earnings per share of $5.01 in fiscal 2019 versus the $3.97 Wall Street consensus.

In similar moves, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Evercore ISI raised their Nvidia price targets earlier this month.