Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) had an unusual end-of-week gain. It was a move that would have been missed by many investors. Still, this all fits in with the ongoing theme of a turnaround.
24/7 Wall St. recently identified nine stocks that could double in 2014, and AMD was one of those companies. There are, of course, risks in this scenario. And it is impossible for many investors to forget that AMD has managed to disappoint for years. Much of the potential gains discussed are, of course, at the potential expense of Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC). These companies simply remain too intertwined to ignore.
Friday’s big stock gain was after AMD CEO Rory Read made an appearance on CNBC’s Fast Money on Thursday. AMD has not exactly been the greatest media hound of late, and this was to talk up the lesser importance of AMD’s PC market. Read also talked up building long-term strategic relations via winning both platform processor and graphics wins for the Xbox One and PS4. Creating a broader reach in servers and embedded systems is a move as well.
If you want proof that AMD is migrating away from just PCs — some 4% or so of AMD revenues were outside of PC applications when Read took over. That figure is about 30% now. Both Seeking Alpha and Motley Fool have both talked up AMD recently in winning over Intel in the lower-end desktop chips.
While PC sales remain weak, investors have to understand that even a 1% or 2% gain in total market share against Intel represents only a drop in the bucket at Intel. It represents, however, a huge revenue gain for AMD.
AMD also recently raised capital in a refinancing move. The ratings agencies gave a mixed view, but our take was that AMD managed to push out its debt maturity schedule handily in that move — similar to what Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) did in recent years.
Perhaps the biggest wild card of them all is speculation that a buyer could swoop AMD up without anyone noticing. This buyout is not even really a rumor, but as Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) and others want a better way to compete against Intel, we do not view this as impossible.
Then if you go back to Intel, the reality is that if AMD ever manages to recapture much in the PC and server markets comes with great upside. That upside would not just be a double either: AMD trades at 0.5 times expected 2014 sales, but Intel trades at 2.3 times expected 2014 sales. We would not at all expect the same sort of multiple, but that means the market values each revenue dollar as being worth 4.6 times that of AMD.
AMD shares were at $3.73 on Thursday, but closed up 5.9% to $3.95 on Friday. The volume was some 55.5 million shares — 150% of a normal day’s trading volume.
We are, of course, factoring in what was disappointing guidance with its January earnings report. Shares dropped from $4.17 down to $3.67 on that news, and the stock traded as low as $3.29 after. The shares briefly hit $4.02 on Friday, topping $4 for the first time since AMD’s earnings report.
When we published AMD as one of nine stocks that could double in 2014, AMD shares were trading at $3.48. AMD shares would have to now rally 75% for this double scenario to have played out. This remains active on the list of potential doubles, whereas two other stocks on that list have already been downgraded as likely to only remotely possible.