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Nvidia stock falls on revenue and guidance miss

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Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of Nvidia Corp., holds a Nvidia Volta 125 Teraflops per second (TFLOPS) Tensor Core as he speaks during an event at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of Nvidia Corp., holds a Nvidia Volta 125 Teraflops per second (TFLOPS) Tensor Core as he speaks during an event at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.

Nvidia shares tumbled more than 19 percent Friday after missing on revenue and guidance in its third-quarter 2019 earnings report.

The company missed analyst revenue expectations of $3.24 billion per Refinitiv, with the company recording $3.18 billion for the quarter. Guidance for the fourth quarter was $2.70 billion, plus or minus 2 percent, excluding certain items. That compares with the Refinitiv consensus estimate of $3.40 billion.

Surplus inventory weighed heavily on the company’s fourth-quarter guidance. On a call with analysts following the report Thursday, CEO Jensen Huang said it could take up to two quarters to move through the additional inventory.

“Our Q4 outlook for gaming reflects very little shipment in the midrange Pascal segment to allow channel inventory to normalize,” Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress said on the call. Revenue for Nvidia’s biggest segment, gaming, fell below the $1.89 billion FactSet consensus estimate, coming in at just $1.76 billion for the quarter.

In notes Friday, analysts expressed varying degrees of concern over the excess inventory, with some saying it would be a temporary problem. Others, such as Wells Fargo, said “investors will be frustrated”:

“While we can appreciate that NVIDIA’s weak F4Q19 outlook is impacted by a 1-2 quarter work-down of Pascal mid-range gaming card inventory in the channel (~$600M; assuming no sell-in in F4Q19 as crypto-related dynamics flush through the channel), coupled with a seasonal decline in game console builds, we think investors will be frustrated by NVIDIA’s comments exiting F2Q19 that: ‘…we [NVIDIA] see inventory at the lower-ends of our stack…inventory is well positioned for back-to-school and building season that’s coming up on F3Q19…‘ “

Susquehanna, which had predicted a decline in Nvidia’s cryptocurrency-related revenue, said the weak revenue and guidance “appears significantly larger than our sizable expectation.” In the segment containing crypto-related revenue, Nvidia reported a 23 percent year-over-year decline at $148 million, which still beat the FactSet consensus estimate of $102 million. The firm reduced its price target estimates from $230 to $210.

“While we have been the crypto-GPU bears on the Street, admittedly we were not patient enough to let this unwind fully play out, and may have also underestimated the size of this Ethereum GPU bubble,” Susquehanna wrote. “That said, we are long-term bulls on NVDA as we believe in the A.I. inference opportunity, pro-viz upgrade cycle and 7nm refresh coming this fall. While NVDA’s report was unexpectedly bad, there is one thing we know… AMD will likely be worse.”

Nvidia’s revenue and guidance miss appears to have an effect on one of its closest competitors in the computer chip space, Advanced Micro Devices. AMD was down close to 5 percent Friday.

— CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this report.



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Booming rally in small-cap stocks reaches historic proportions

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Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), January 14, 2019 in New York City.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), January 14, 2019 in New York City.

Small caps’ snapback is flashing an ominous signal.

The Russell 2000 has rallied 16.5 percent in 2019, the third best start to a year since the index’s inception. However, small caps’ future is bound to be bleaker if history is any guide. According to Jefferies, in the previous five best starts to a year, small caps suffered weaker-than-average performance in the following three months and squeezed out only a 1.2 percent gain for the rest of the year.

“Can’t draw up a better start to new year than this, however we need a pullback,” Steven DeSanctis, a Jefferies strategist, said in a note on Sunday. “We’d like the market to take a breather.”

He added that earnings have shown strong double-digit growth, but small caps still trail large company earnings, and the outlook for first and second quarter is “in the red.”

Small-cap stocks dipped into bear market territory when recession fears triggered a massive sell-off in December. Now, the group is up 24 percent since Christmas Eve, but the strong comeback might be overlooking the poor earnings outlook. Wall Street is now foreseeing a 2.9 percent decline in small-cap earnings in the first quarter, according to FactSet. In addition, the China trade uncertainty is clouding the road ahead.

“If the U.S. does not get a trade deal done with China over the next few weeks, a recovery in earnings growth is unlikely, as companies put off capex until 2020,” DeSanctis said. “This is one of the biggest risks for the market and explains why we have not raised our Russell 2000 year-end target of 1550.” The index is currently trading at around 1,569.

Growth stocks are seen beating value stocks in the small-cap world given the earnings growth, DeSanctis pointed out.

“The next two quarters should be weak and even down year-over-year for Small and Large caps. We think this supports our Growth over Value theme. [Growth stocks] do look better with the price to book and price to sales ratios double digits below average,” he said.

The strong rally coupled with downward earnings revisions have also made small caps expensive again in a short period of time. The Russell 2000 is trading at 19.8 times forward earnings.



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Papa John’s to struggle despite activist, analyst downgrades to sell

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A customer enters a Papa John's restaurant in Louisville, Ky.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A customer enters a Papa John’s restaurant in Louisville, Ky.

Papa John’s investors will be disappointed in the near term as sales struggle, according to one Wall Street analyst.

Stifel’s Chris O’Cull downgraded the stock to sell from hold on Monday and wrote that the company’s recent promotions suggest the embattled pizza maker is struggling to compete for customers in the face of low-price deals at rivals Dominos, Pizza Hut and Little Caesars’. But for the restaurant chain to bolster sales, the analyst believes it will need to commit to subsidizing franchisees, a direct threat to earnings over the next few years.

“In order for Papa John’s to drive transactions we believe it will need to commit to an everyday low price menu that will probably hurt franchisees’ profits until consumer perception of its value changes,” O’Cull wrote in his note. “These offers are clearly designed to drive transactions, but to be successful they must increase transactions enough to offset the dollar impact of the discount, otherwise the results lower store margin percentage and dollars.”

Stifel reduced its 2019 earnings per share estimate to 80 cents from $1.20 (well below the Wall Street consensus estimate of $1.19) and cut its price target to $35. The new price target represents 22 percent downside from Friday’s close of $45.26.

The downgrade comes about two weeks after the company announced a $200 million investment by activist hedge fund Starboard Value. Papa John’s said Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith will become its chairman following the fund’s investment in the form of a convertible stock purchase of 11 to 15 percent.

Activist investors typically accumulate stakes in companies they believe are undervalued and encourage executives to adopt changes they think will boost returns for shareholders. Such demands can range from board seats and CEO replacement to an entire sale of the business.

Papa John’s stock was unchanged in premarket trading Tuesday morning.



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UAE announces IDEX weapons deals as Middle East arms spending climbs

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Attendees walk the floor at IDEX, the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, in Abu Dhabi in 2015.

Markus Matzel | ullstein bild | Getty Images

Attendees walk the floor at IDEX, the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, in Abu Dhabi in 2015.

The United Arab Emirates announced about $1.35 billion in defense deals with local and international companies on the opening day of IDEX 2019, the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Of the 33 deals announced Sunday, 18 were domestic and 15 were with foreign firms, the latter accounting for just under $1.1 billion of the total, an IDEX spokesperson said during a news conference.

American companies took the greatest share of foreign sales, at about $490 million. Led by Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Hesco, the deals will provide missiles, new radar systems capabilities and defensive shelters for the UAE military, respectively. Others notching sales to the country included France’s Thales, Australian firm EOS Defense and Germany’s Rheinmetall Electronics.

The deals with 18 domestic firms highlight the small Gulf country’s investment in developing its own defense manufacturing industry as part of a drive to diversify its economy away from oil.



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