Nvidia’s stock plummeted as much as 19% Thursday after reporting weaker-than-expected revenue, as the company’s CEO admitted being surprised by a “crypto hangover” that is worse and longer-lasting than expected.
Nvidia had been one of the hottest technology stocks in recent years. Last month, its stock reached an all-time high of $289.36 a share, marking a gain of 1067% in three years. Part of that rally was driven by speculation, but most of it came from surging demand for its high-powered graphics chips, which are used in gaming devices, data centers and to power crypto-mining operations.
On Thursday, Nvidia said revenue rose 2.5% to $3.18 billion, falling short of analyst estimates as well as its own previous guidance. Net income of $1.84 a share beat Wall Street estimates of $1.71 a share.
Most of the weakness in revenue came from an absence of crypto-currency mining, the company said. As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have fallen in 2018, demand for the high-powered processors used to mine them has also dried up. That has left Nvidia with higher inventories than it expected, which the company said will correct in time.
“We were surprised, obviously. We were as surprised as anyone else,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said on a conference call discussing earnings. “The crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected. When prices went down, we expected demand to pick up more quickly.” Huang later said on the call, “We thought we had done a better job managing the cryptocurrency dynamics.”
In the current quarter, Nvidia said revenue would be “$2.70 billion, plus or minus 2 percent.” That median figure is 20% below the $3.40 billion that analyst had been expecting. That suggests another disappointing quarter for Nvidia lies ahead, adding to the selloff in Nvidia’s stock.
Nvidia is still seeing strong growth in other business segments such as design visualization, which gained 28%. Once the crypto hangover passes, the stock could resume its climb, but for now Nvidia must enduring one big, lingering headache.