Will NVIDIA Keep Bouncing?

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Shares of NVIDIA (NAS: NVDA) opened 8% higher today thanks to a serviceable first-quarter report filed this morning along with a rosy view for the coming period.

The graphics-chip stalwart and mobile-processor upstart collected non-GAAP earnings of $0.10 per share, right in line with analyst expectations. On the top line, sales fell 4% year over year to $925 million. The Street would have settled for $916 million.

The results weren't exactly awe-inspiring, but Wall Street wasn't expecting much, either. The revenue consensus sat at the middle of NVIDIA's guidance range for the quarter but the actual results came in near the top of that span. Gross margins were stronger than management had expected, though higher operating expenses stopped the extra cash from reaching the bottom line.


For the next quarter, management expects about $1 billion of revenue -- well ahead of the $976 million Street view and roughly flat from the $1.02. billion reported in last year's second quarter.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang pins these hopes on the just-launched Kepler line of graphics chips, paired with the equally fresh Ivy Bridge line of notebook processors by Intel (NAS: INTC) . These products can often be found together in high-end Ultrabook systems. Intel is putting its back into marketing that platform to keep portable PCs competitive with Apple's (NAS: AAPL) niche-leading Macbook Air. Thin is in, and NVIDIA is happy to ride along on that wave.

Going even thinner and lighter, the first smartphones based on NVIDIA's Tegra 3 processor started trickling onto the market led by HTC's Android flagship models.

Even after this morning's strong bounce, NVIDIA trades within 18% of 52-week lows. Share prices have fallen 4% in 2012 while arch rival Advanced Micro Devices (NYS: AMD) soared 29%. AMD has been cleaning NVIDIA's clock while waiting for Kepler to arrive. It's too early to say for sure, but the tide may have turned in the PC graphics market now.

Let's just say that you wouldn't overpay for NVIDIA if you bought this mobile winner today. The company plays a leading role in the trillion-dollar mobile computing revolution.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorAnders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check outAnders' holdings and bio, or follow him onTwitterandGoogle+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing puts on NVIDIA as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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