Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken center stage in the stock market this year, capturing the imagination of investors with its enormous potential. While AI technology is still in its early stages, Wall Street is forecasting remarkable long-term prospects. Goldman Sachs, for instance, predicts that AI’s ability to boost productivity could contribute an astounding $7 trillion to global economic output over the next decade. This bullish outlook is driven by the historical precedent of substantial investment cycles preceding productivity booms, akin to those driven by electricity and information technology.
Goldman Sachs further speculates that by 2025, businesses will invest a staggering $200 billion annually in AI-related hardware and software, more than doubling the expenditure witnessed in 2022. In light of this anticipated AI boom, two prominent companies, Nvidia and Microsoft, stand out as potential frontrunners in reaping the rewards. Here’s an examination of why investors should consider both these tech giants as attractive investment opportunities.
Nvidia: Pioneering AI Hardware
To understand Nvidia’s pivotal role in AI development, it’s essential to appreciate the transformation of data storage and computing. In the past, businesses maintained their valuable data on on-premises servers. However, with the advent of cloud computing, massive shared data centers now host this information more cost-effectively. These modern data centers also serve as the hub for building, training, and deploying AI models.
Efficient AI training necessitates cutting-edge semiconductor hardware, a domain where Nvidia dominates with an estimated 90% market share. Nvidia’s recent financial results underscore the veracity of Goldman Sachs’ predictions. In the fiscal second quarter of 2024, ending July 30, the company generated a staggering $10.3 billion in data center revenue, marking a remarkable 171% year-over-year increase.
The catalyst behind this surge was the soaring demand for Nvidia’s graphics chips (GPUs), specifically designed for AI workloads, exemplified by the popular H100. Despite this remarkable growth, Nvidia stands at the initial stages of a potentially multi-year upgrade cycle as data center operators, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, gear up to replace aging infrastructure to support accelerated computing and AI.
Nvidia’s entrenched dominance in the AI sector presents a formidable barrier to potential competitors, such as Advanced Micro Devices, which plans to release its MI300 AI data center chips later this year. A crucial aspect bolstering Nvidia’s position is the widespread adoption of its CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) software, used to build AI applications atop its GPU chips.
This software significantly accelerates AI training and deployment, but it can only be used with Nvidia’s hardware, creating a binding ecosystem. Departing from Nvidia would entail abandoning the software that developers have grown accustomed to over the years, making it a challenging task for competitors to dethrone the industry giant. In 2023, Nvidia’s stock price surged by an impressive 204%, propelling the company’s market capitalization beyond the $1 trillion mark.
While traditional valuation metrics may suggest Nvidia is expensive, its forward-looking prospects remain promising. Wall Street estimates anticipate earnings per share of $16.71 for fiscal 2025, translating to a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 26.2. When compared to the Nasdaq-100 technology index’s trailing P/E ratio of 30.5 and forward P/E of 27.3, investing in Nvidia at its current valuation may prove worthwhile, especially for investors with a multi-year horizon.
Microsoft: Azure’s Cloud-Based AI Services
Microsoft, renowned as the world’s second-largest cloud infrastructure provider, trailing only Amazon, has witnessed a remarkable evolution in its Azure platform. Azure offers an extensive array of products and solutions catering to business clients, including advanced AI tools. This shift toward AI has garnered attention, with some analysts at Bernstein speculating that Microsoft’s AI-focused strategy could potentially elevate Azure to surpass Amazon in the cloud industry.
Microsoft’s commitment to AI is exemplified by its substantial investments in OpenAI, a notable AI developer responsible for the ChatGPT online chatbot. The tech giant initially invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019, followed by an additional $10 billion earlier this year. Microsoft rapidly integrated OpenAI’s technology across its product portfolio, spanning Azure, its 365 productivity suite, and its internet search engine, Bing.
Azure’s adoption of OpenAI’s technology has borne fruit through the creation of Azure OpenAI Service, which has experienced significant success. This service enables businesses to access OpenAI’s cutting-edge GPT-4 technology via Azure, empowering them to develop AI applications and enhance productivity. In the fiscal third quarter of 2023, ending March 31, Azure OpenAI Service boasted 2,500 business customers, marking a tenfold increase compared to the preceding quarter.
By the close of Microsoft’s fiscal fourth quarter, ending June 30, 2023, this customer base had further expanded to 11,000. Additionally, Microsoft has seamlessly integrated OpenAI’s technology into its 365 document suite, encompassing popular applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These applications have acquired the capability to generate content for users, reducing reliance on conventional search engines like Google.
Microsoft’s recent release of Copilot, an enterprise version designed for commercial use, reinforces its commitment to AI. Unlike consumer versions, Copilot refrains from utilizing sensitive business data for AI model training, enhancing workplace safety.
However, Microsoft’s AI endeavors extend beyond OpenAI. The company’s investments in Builder.ai, another prominent AI start-up, hold great potential. Builder.ai facilitates software development with AI prompts, catering to entrepreneurs with limited programming experience. This tool could become a valuable addition to Azure, appealing particularly to small businesses and start-ups.
Microsoft is effectively positioning itself as a comprehensive destination for businesses seeking AI products and services. Through Azure, it has created a robust distribution network for cutting-edge AI technologies, positioning the company to capture a substantial share of the anticipated AI investment in the coming years.
In fiscal 2023, Azure recorded revenues exceeding $55 billion. Considering the potential magnitude of AI investment predicted by Goldman Sachs, this figure could experience significant growth in the near future. Investment Investment Investment Investment
The AI revolution is poised to reshape industries and economies, with investments expected to surge in the coming years. As businesses allocate significant resources to embrace AI technologies, Nvidia and Microsoft emerge as compelling investment opportunities. Nvidia’s hardware dominance and entrenched ecosystem, coupled with Microsoft’s comprehensive AI services through Azure, position both companies as potential beneficiaries of the AI wave.
Investors keen on capitalizing on the AI boom should consider these two tech giants for their portfolios, recognizing the transformative potential of AI in the global economy.