Skip to content

Why is AMD Stock Dropping So Much? An In-Depth Analysis

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been one of the tech industry‘s greatest comeback stories in recent decades. After facing potential bankruptcy in the early 2010s, AMD made an epic turnaround through its world-class chip designs and execution under CEO Lisa Su. The company‘s stock price reflected this rising fortune, skyrocketing from around $2 in 2016 to an all-time high of $164 in November 2021 as sales boomed. However, gravity soon caught up and AMD has plummeted 60% since those 2021 peaks. For a stock that could do no wrong during the pandemic bull market, this sharp reversal has been a bitter pill for shareholders to swallow.

In this comprehensive guide, we dive deep into the key factors that have contributed to AMD‘s falling stock price. We also objectively assess its future growth prospects to determine if the tech innovator‘s best days could still lie ahead.

Semiconductor Industry Faces Whirlwind of Challenges

As a leading designer and producer of high-performance computing chips, AMD’s fortunes are closely tied to the overall semiconductor industry. Here is a brief recap of the mounting headwinds facing the industry recently:

Pandemic Disruptions and Inflation

  • Industry revenues declined 3.4% in 2022, only the second annual drop in the last 30 years
  • China’s strict zero-Covid policy led to supply chain chaos, hurting chip production and sales
  • Raw material, equipment and shipping costs have spiked, squeezing margins across the supply chain

Geopolitical Conflict

  • The Russia-Ukraine war has worsened materials shortages like neon gas and palladium
  • Loss of Russian PC market revenues amidst sanctions
  • US ban on advanced AI chip sales to China disrupts over $50 billion in annual exports

Reduced Enterprise and Consumer Spending

  • Enterprises cut or delay technology investments given recession worries
  • Smartphone, PC and data center sales drop as consumers and businesses tighten budgets

These converging headwinds in a historically resilient industry illustrate just how challenging prevailing conditions have become. But AMD has company-specific factors in play too.

Strategic Shifts Cause Temporary Revenue Deceleration

Key to AMD’s remarkable comeback under CEO Lisa Su was gaining market share in PCs and gaming devices leveraging the superiority of its Ryzen and RDNA chip architectures compared to Intel and Nvidia. As PC sales hit record highs during the pandemic, lifting the broader semiconductor industry, AMD was firing on all cylinders. Several consecutive quarters of 50%+ annual revenue growth propelled its stock price to meteoric levels.

However, the consumer PC boom could not last forever. In 2021, AMD management took two strategic decisions focused on the long term, but at the cost of near term growth:

1. Transitioning towards Data Center and AI Chips

While AMD’s revenues still comprise 65% PC processors and graphics cards, it has been expanding aggressively into server CPUs and AI accelerators for cloud, enterprise and high performance computing applications.

These chips take years of R&D investment to design and have much longer sales cycles, but provide immense revenue growth potential in the long run. Already AMD is gaining share here vs Intel and Nvidia.

  • Data center/AI chip revenue doubled annually in 2021 and grew 45% in 2022
  • Generated $1.6 billion in Q3 2022, now 20% of total sales
  • Top-tier cloud providers like Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are ramping up adoption of AMD server chips

2. Acquiring Xilinx – Boosting AMD’s AI Portfolio

The $50 billion takeover of programmable chipmaker Xilinx closed in February 2022. It bolsters AMD’s domain expertise in adaptive computing, but led to near-term margin dilution just as industry headwinds mounted.

The Payoff Ahead

Navigating these shifts amidst an extremely challenging business climate has led to significant stock price volatility. Eventually however, AMD’s bets on the data center and AI opportunity could drive its next phase of high growth.

Financial Performance Remains Strong Despite Headwinds

AMD’s stock price in 2022 suggests a company in crisis mode with collapsing revenues. In reality, while negative forces have checked its previous scorching pace somewhat, core business metrics remain very healthy:

Quarterly Revenue Performance

Quarter 2021 Revenue 2022 Revenue Annual Growth
Q1 $3.4 billion $5.1 billion +55%
Q2 $3.6 billion $6.5 billion +88%
Q3 $4.3 billion $5.6 billion +29%
  • AMD has delivered 8 straight quarters of record revenues and profits
  • 2022 sales increased 44% annually through Q3

Profitability and Margins

Metric Q3 2021 Q3 2022
Gross Margin 48% 45%
Operating Margin 23% 12%
Net Income $923 million $66 million
  • While down from 2021’s blockbuster results, Q3 2022 still represented AMD‘s 4th most profitable quarter ever
  • Declining margins attributed to initial dilution from Xilinx acquisition and higher operating expenses

So while understandable in the context of its peer group, AMD’s 60% share price crash seems excessive given its sound financial and competitive positioning. Tech stocks frequently overshoot in both directions.

Technological Prowess Drives Data Center and AI Opportunity

As seen above, AMD is deliberately positioning itself for where the growth will emerge next. Its research excellence and multi-year execution in critical areas gives it pole position to capitalize on:

Surging Demand for Server CPUs

  • Total addressable market for data center chips estimated to reach $100 billion+ by 2025
  • AMD Instinct server CPUs gaining strong traction from cloud providers given leading performance/price
  • Google, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud now offer AMD-powered cloud instances

Boom In AI and Machine Learning Workloads

  • AI chip data processing workloads forecast to grow 30% per annum through 2027
  • Market for AI accelerators alone projected to exceed $90 billion
  • Acquisition of Xilinx strengthens AMD‘s adaptive computing IP for AI/ML apps
  • New AMD Instinct MI300 accelerator winning deals from cloud giants and research labs

With its technological leadership in key growth domains and strong customer endorsements from the likes of Google and Microsoft, AMD seems poised to replicate its PC market success in servers and AI over the next decade.

Competitive Moves Pressure Intel in CPUs

AMD’s resurgence this past decade was founded on its Ryzen CPU architecture outperforming Intel’s aging Core designs while maintaining cost advantages from outsourced manufacturing. Fast forward to 2022, and AMD is inflicting further damage by leveraging the same playbook in server processors:

Efficient Chip Design on Advanced Transistors

  • AMD uses cutting edge 5nm and 4nm manufacturing technology offered by foundry TSMC
  • Enables more powerful and energy-efficient CPU core designs vs Intel‘s 10nm chips
  • 3D V-Cache and chiplet approaches provide flexibility and modularity

Higher Performance per Dollar

  • EPYC server CPUs benchmark 60% higher on performance per dollar vs. Intel
  • For cloud/enterprise buyers focused on TCO, AMD provides better value
  • Intel saddled with higher costs due to internal foundry model

Cloud Adoption and Enterprise Momentum

  • Major hyperscale cloud providers now offer AMD-powered instances
  • 25% of the Azure cloud capacity uses EPYC processors
  • VMware says AMD crossing 50% market threshold signals impending mainstream adoption in data centers
  • Supercomputer share rose from 7% to 27% in 2022 with AMD inside

AMD’s cost structure and architectural advantages represent existential threats for Intel’s data center hegemony through this decade.

AI Leadership Over Nvidia Takes Shape

AMD’s Xilinx acquisition now gives it premium AI accelerators competitive with Nvidia, while its CPU server chips bypass the need for Nvidia’s graphics cards in many AI workloads. With AMD also utilizing TSMC’s manufacturing to drive performance per watt advantages, its AI chip momentum is building:

Optimized AI Chiplet Design

  • New AMD Instinct MI300 AI accelerator powered by TSMC 4nm with 58 billion transistors
  • Adopts 3D chiplet architecture for optimum data flow and memory bandwidth
  • Chips contain AI Engines, Matrix Cores and Vector Engines tailored to AI ops

Major Wins with Hyperscalers and Enterprises

  • MI300 adoption for training and inference by AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle
  • 80% higher performance than Nvidia’s flagship A100 GPU at same power draw
  • Dell, Lenovo, Supermicro unveiling over 50 AMD AI systems for business rollouts

Research Leadership – Frontier Exascale Supercomputer

  • $600M Frontier system with 100 MI250X GPUs is world’s fastest supercomputer at 1.1 exaFLOPS
  • Showcases AMD EPYC CPU and Instinct GPU synergy beating Nvidia’s Grace CPU-Hopper approach
  • Validates benefits of AMD’s chiplet architecture for complex HPC and AI workloads

With expected AI chip growth of 30% annually over the next 5 years in a ~$90 billion addressable market, AMD’s early customer wins bode well for it replicating the success of its Ryzen PC chips in AI data centers through the late 2020s.

Stock Price Analysis and Forecasts Suggest Upside

After examination of both recent headwinds impacting earnings and AMD‘s long term competitive positioning, what is the outlook for its stock price? Technical and fundamental analysis lends credence to a bullish perspective:

Technical View – Oversold Conditions Emerge

Examining AMD‘s 10-year weekly price chart in context of its 50-week and 200-week simple moving averages shows the deep oversold conditions currently prevailing:

AMD stock price chart over 10 years

With AMD trading 60% below its 200-week moving average in what appears an extreme downside capitulation, history suggests a mean reversion rally could occur as the panic selling pressure exhausts itself.

Fundamental View – Strong Growth Profile

Wall Street analysts foresee AMD resuming robust growth and margin expansion as transient headwinds clear and large addressable markets open up:

  • Revenue forecast to rise 18% in 2023 and 12% in 2024
  • EPS expected to grow 23% next year and 30% in 2024
  • Expanding P/E multiple from current 17x to 26x reflects higher growth prospects

Mirroring the fundamental outlook above, AMD receives overwhelmingly positive recommendations:

  • Recent analyst price targets average ~$95, representing 40% upside
  • Out of 44 analysts, 38 are positive with Buy/Outperform ratings

With expectations of 30%+ EPS growth over the next 3 years combined with P/E re-rating towards historical mid-20s levels, AMD‘s risk-reward profile again looks compelling to many industry experts.

Final Verdict – Cautiously Optimistic

In summary, while AMD as an organization appears to have all the ingredients in place for long term success based on technological strengths and end market exposure, prevailing economic crosswinds have undoubtedly caused some turbulence this past year. Its stock price may continue facing volatility for a few more quarters until either macro conditions stabilize or their new bets firmly gain hold.

However, with a strong balance sheet, robust cashflows and capable leadership team, AMD looks equipped to weather the storm. For intrepid investors with appropriate multi-year timeframes, the 60% selloff likely presents a opportunity to capitalize on the next upcycle. Upside over $100 once macro headwinds clear seems probable based on the analytics and forecasts cited above.

Top Image: © Jejim /