Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) has been on fire. First it was Wells Fargo Securities raising the safety flag calling for AMD to double. Now we are seeing two more simultaneous analyst upgrades as BofA/Merrill Lynch and Canaccord Genuity both issued Buy ratings on Thursday based uon its processor and graphics expansion ahead.
Merrill Lynch raised AMD stock to Buy all the way up from Underperform, a rare two-notch upgrade. Its price target is $6 for AMD. The research note said, “Exclusive wins in processor chips for next-gen Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One game consoles expected in Q4 can transform AMD into a profitable, diversified company with a multi-year recurring revenue stream, away from its inconsistent past under Intel’s shadow.”
Canaccord Genuity’s upgrades we less aggressive. Its rating still went to Buy, but from a prior Hold rating. Its price target was raised to $5 from $3 in the upgrade.
As far as why Merrill Lynch is so much more aggressive, it sees many issues: pent up console demand from Xbox One and PlayStation4 and gains in market share in graphics against Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA). Risks include PC and server market share loss and margins on the console wins.
Also note that FBR Capital Markets raised AMD’s rating to Outperform from Market Perform with a new $5.50 price target back on June 24 as well. The big call was back in March when shares were around $2.60, where Wells Fargo assigned a whopping $5 to $7 valuation for AMD at the time.
Shares were up at $3.98 on Wednesday, and now the two analyst upgrades have AMD shares up 9% at $4.35 on what is already double the normal daily share trading volume as some 47 million shares have traded hands as of 11:25 a.m. EST.
AMD’s stock has now more than doubled from its 52-week low. It may be back up closer to a 52-week high now that its range over the past year is $1.81 to $5.07, but we would also note that this was an $8 stock at the peak of 2012 and a $9 stock in 2011.