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Nvidia's top salesperson in 2018 may be none other than Steven Spielberg, according to Jefferies.
Spielberg's upcoming film, "Ready Player One," depicts a future dystopia where many retreat into a virtual world. Jefferies said the premise could drive sales of virtual reality headsets that require high-performance chips. The movie, directed by Spielberg, will be released in U.S. theaters on March 29.
The film "depicts a dystopian society where people go to school, travel, conduct business and escape into a virtual world called the OASIS, and interact with one another in the OASIS via their avatars," analyst Mark Lipacis wrote to clients. "We also think that 'Ready Player One' has the potential to appeal to an electronics game savvy audience that is motivated to have a more immersive experience."
Nvidia, the chipmaker with a focus on graphics and artificial intelligence, is one of Wall Street's most favorite technology stocks. Its price has climbed nearly 150 percent during the past 12 months, making it the second-best performer in the S&P 500. Shares of Nvidia rose 1.8 percent on Monday morning following the Jefferies note.
The company announced last year its Pegasus artificial intelligence computer system, which will enable fully autonomous robotaxis.
Lipacis, who has a buy rating on the company's stock, sees shares climbing to $300 over the next year, implying more than 22 percent upside from Friday's close.
"The computing paradigm experiences a tectonic shift every 15 years, and that it is currently in a shift to a 'Parallel Processing – Internet of Things' model," the analyst added. "A lot of the demand for increased compute cycles is becoming parallel in nature, like neural networking, gaming, virtual reality and blockchain/cryptocurrency mining."
A surge in demand for VR headsets wouldn't benefit Nvidia exclusively, Lipacis said. He also highlighted rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices as a possible beneficiary of a Spielberg success.
The analyst has a buy rating and a $19 price target on shares, implying 62 percent upside for AMD. Shares were down fractionally Monday.