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AMD forecast, U.S. credit downgrade drags down chip stocks

  • Chip stocks dipped Wednesday after AMD reported a gloomy forecast that shows continued weakness in PC demand and slow data center spend.
  • For the third quarter, AMD said it expects $5.7 billion in sales, while analysts were looking for revenue of $5.81 billion.
  • The broader market also slipped Wednesday after Fitch Ratings downgraded the United States’ long-term foreign currency issuer default rating.

AMD Chair and CEO Lisa Su speaks at the AMD Keynote address during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

David Becker | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Chip stocks dipped Wednesday, after AMD‘s disappointing revenue forecast raised concern that fragility in the PC market and slower spending from businesses may be poised to continue.

AMD shares dropped 7. Marvell fell almost 6%, Nvidia slid close to 5% and Intel and Texas Instruments each declined more than 3%, falling more than the broader tech market.

For the third quarter, AMD said late Tuesday that it expects $5.7 billion in sales, while analysts were looking for revenue of $5.81 billion. At the same time, the company said a “weaker PC market” dragged second-quarter revenue down 54% in its client segment. Sales in the data center business fell 11% in part because of soft enterprise demand, AMD said.

Semiconductor companies led a decline in tech stocks, as the market was hit by Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of the United States’ long-term foreign currency issuer default rating from AAA to AA+. Fitch attributed the downgrade to “expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years,” an erosion of governance and a growing general debt burden.

The Nasdaq dropped 2.1% on Wednesday, its second-worst day of the year.

Following AMD’s earnings report, CEO Lisa Su told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” in an interview on Wednesday that the company is coming out of a “volatile cycle” for PCs, but she said AMD expects to see growth through the second half of the year. Analysts at Jefferies reiterated their buy rating on the stock in a note to clients and pointed to PC recovery materializing.

AMD is one of the few companies making high-end graphics processing units (GPUs) needed for artificial intelligence, and analysts are watching to see if its server chips can take market share away from top rival Intel.

“The idea is that your PC should be your productivity tool to help you really organize all aspects of your life, and generative AI is going to be a big piece of that,” Su told CNBC.

She said AMD is working closely with partners like Microsoft to leverage AI and make the computers more productive going forward.

During the quarter, AMD announced a new chip that’s intended to build and run the kind of AI models that are at the heart of applications like OpenAI’s popular chatbot ChatGPT. AMD said the MI300X chip was currently being provided to customers for sampling and that production would ramp in the fourth quarter.

“It’s an exciting time for the PCs,” Su said.

— CNBC’s Kif Leswing contributed to this report.

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