Nvidia is falling again as analysts bail on once-loved stock: 'This becomes a show me story'

  • Analysts at Morgan Stanley and Needam downgraded the stock. Another analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch removed it from its list of best ideas.
  • The downgrades come after Nvidia posted its worst single-day performance since mid-November on the back of a massive revenue forecast cut.
  • "This becomes a show me story" for Nvidia, says one analyst.

Shares of Nvidia fell 4.6 percent Tuesday, adding to their steep losses from the previous session, as several analysts bailed on the chipmaker following a dire sales warning.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley and Needam downgraded the stock. Another analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch removed it from its list of best ideas.

Nvidia dropped 13.8 percent Monday, its worst single-day performance since Nov. 16, after the company slashed its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue guidance to $2.2 billion from $2.7 billion. In a statement, Nvidia said that "deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China, impacted consumer demand for NVIDIA gaming GPUs," a key business segment for the company.

"Missing the quarter this badly in gaming indicates more significant challenges than we had anticipated, given that this is still a channel fill quarter for midrange/high end," said Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore, in a note Tuesday. "This becomes a show me story with lower P/E assumptions."

Moore downgraded Nvidia to equal weight from overweight and slashed his price target on the stock to $148 per share from $220. The new price target implies 7.2 percent upside from Monday's close of $138.01. His old price target implied an upside of 59.4 percent.

Nvidia became the latest tech company to attribute a cut in its sales forecast to a slowdown in China. Earlier this month, Apple slashed its revenue guidance for the fiscal first quarter, citing a weakening economy in China and weaker-than-expected iPhone sales.

For Nvidia, "China has historically been a large market for graphics," said Needham analyst Rajvindra Gill in a note Tuesday. "While NVDA does not break out its specific Chinese gaming exposure, desktop gaming is hugely popular in China and a big market for NVDA. Deteriorating conditions in the Chinese economy have adversely affected purchases of graphics cards, particularly high-end RTX GPUs."

Gill downgraded Nvidia to underperform from buy, adding the stock could fall to $100 "or below."

Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at UBS, upgraded Nvidia to buy from neutral on the back of its lowered sales forecast, however. In a note to clients on Tuesday, Arcuri said the stock's move down "finally sets the stage for a new positive revision cycle starting this summer."

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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