AMD shares rise after analyst upgrades chipmaker due to Intel’s manufacturing technology delay

  • Susquehanna raises its rating to neutral from negative and increases its price target for AMD shares, citing the company's improving server chip sales.
  • "We believe Intel's [10nm process] delay will help to maintain/improve AMD's competitiveness for their next generation of Epyc and Ryzen products," the firm's analyst writes.
An Advanced Micro Devices computer chip.
Ashley Pon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An Advanced Micro Devices computer chip.

Intel's problems in moving to its next generation chip manufacturing technology may be a boon for AMD's sales, according to one Wall Street firm.

Susquehanna raised its rating to neutral from negative and increased its price target for AMD shares, citing the company's improving server chip sales.

Intel revealed on its Apr. 26 earnings conference call it delayed volume production under its 10-nanometer chip manufacturing process to next year. Conversely, AMD said it plans to start next generation 7-nanometer chip production in late 2018 on its call.

One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter. Smaller nanometer chip-making technologies allows companies to create faster more power efficient chips.

"We believe Intel's delay will help to maintain/improve AMD's competitiveness for their next generation of Epyc and Ryzen products," analyst Christopher Rolland said in a note to clients Wednesday. "A more competitive process technology may increase the likelihood of share gains versus Intel over the next few years, a potential game changer … We also expect additional share gains to come from the ramp of Ryzen Mobile, and AMD's server product Epyc."

AMD's stock closed up 3 percent Wednesday.

The analyst increased his price target for AMD shares to $11 from $8, representing 12 percent downside from Tuesday's close.

Rolland also back-pedaled on his negative thesis that a new cryptocurrency mining chip from China would hurt AMD's sales. He downgraded the chipmaker's stock in March, predicting Bitmain's ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining ethereum would take share from the company.

"The Ethereum ASIC we previewed from our Asia trip [earlier this year] held 3x performance improvements, but fresh price hikes have destroyed its value proposition," he said. "Initial specs for the $800 E3 rig offered a >3x improvement over premium GPUs. However, in the weeks following, Bitmain discretely increased prices to $2,150 (memory costs?), cutting price/performance by two-thirds… a non-starter."

Cryptocurrency miners use graphics cards based on AMD's and Nvidia's chips to "mine" new coins such as ethereum, which can then be sold or held for future appreciation. Digital currency ethereum is up more than 600 percent over the past 12 months, according to Coinbase data.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.