Analyst downgrades AMD shares, saying its soaring stock now 'reflects irrational expectations'

Key Points
  • Northland Capital Markets lowers its rating to market perform from outperform for AMD shares, predicting Intel will eventually improve its chip offerings.
  • “We think the [AMD] shares price reflects irrational expectations," the firm's analyst Gus Richard says.
A worker holding a wafer at Advanced Micro Devices
Norbert Millauer | AFP | Getty Images

Investors are getting too optimistic about AMD's prospects, according to Northland Capital Markets.

The firm lowered its rating on AMD shares to market perform from outperform, predicting Intel will eventually improve its chip offerings.

"When we originally picked up AMD in June of 2015, the slowing of Moore's law, a strong design team, a strong IP position and talented CEO [led] us to believe that AMD would once again challenge INTC. Our thesis hasn't changed, valuation and sentiment has," analyst Gus Richard said in a note to clients Thursday. "We think the shares price reflects irrational expectations."

AMD on course for best quarter since early 1990s

AMD shares closed up 1.2 percent Thursday.

Richard raised his price target to $30 from $26 for AMD's stock, representing 7 percent downside to Wednesday's close.

The analyst predicts AMD will gain share in the server chip market against Intel, but he expects Intel to eventually "get its act together" in terms of technology.

"We believe estimates will very likely migrate higher, however we believe the real world takes longer than investors are thinking, in our opinion," he said.

AMD's stock is significantly outperforming the market this year. Its shares are up 213 percent year to date through Wednesday versus the S&P 500's 9 percent gain. The company's stock is the top-performing name in the S&P 500 this year.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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