Chipmaker Nvidia last week issued revenue guidance for the current quarter of $2.7 billion, falling well short of analysts’ consensus estimates of $3.4 billion. The culprit? The deflating bitcoin bubble!
Some explanations for earnings and revenue warnings you just can’t make up.
The global cryptocurrency mania — not only for bitcoin BTCUSD, -6.93% but similar absurdities — led to strong demand for graphics processing units (GPUs), which Nvidia is a leader in, as they are used to run the computations necessary to “mine” cryptocurrencies. As the air has rapidly left the global crypto bubble, mining those worthless lines of code has gotten less lucrative and, hence, the demand for GPUs has rapidly declined.
Granted, Nvidia’s NVDA, +2.10% chips are not only about bitcoin mining but are vital to a number of other applications that are centered on the global phenomenon of artificial intelligence (AI). As the maker of some of the most advanced chips on the market, Nvidia will survive the disappearance of bitcoin and other similar absurdities (see chart). For a real-time observation of how the cryptocurrency mania is imploding, you can visit coinmarketcap.com. (For more, see “Why bitcoin is now the biggest bubble in history, in one chart.”)
As I’ve explained previously several times, the term “market cap” when used to describe a cryptocurrency is absurd. Market cap is short for “market capitalization,” or the total worth of all publicly traded stock of an operating company. It is supposed to discount all earnings (or cash flows) as far as all investors in the company’s stock (dubbed “the market”) can see and, thus, value the company that way.
As history has proven on multiple occasions, most bubbles end with the majority of investors losing massive amounts of money as they hold and hope for the bubble to reflate. Regrettably, after bubbles pop, they can take decades to recover and “take out” the bubble price high, or, worst-case scenario, disappear. I think bitcoin will be a worst-case scenario situation.
A case in point is Amazon.com AMZN, -1.12% which made its founder Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world. It used to be a bubble (rapidly rising price with no earnings), but that is no longer the case, as it now has rising sales and earnings, and is expanding into new businesses. Amazon’s sales were rising in 1997-2000 but so were its losses. The more sales it had, the more money it lost, so the stock got overvalued in the 1999 dot-com bubble. That’s why it went from $113 to $5.51 after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000-02 (see chart).
Then, when Bezos turned it around, Amazon became the company that had institutional and board support for the longest of any large company without making any money, plowing all cash flows into the growth of the business. The stock went parabolic without becoming a bubble. In fiscal 2018, Amazon is set to have $233 billion in sales, while in 2019 they are estimated to rise 21% to $293 billion, based on consensus analyst estimates. Then Amazon will be more than half the size of Walmart WMT, -3.23% the largest retailer in the world, but growing much faster than Walmart.
That’s why Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world and likely to grow richer, if he doesn’t get bro
ken up by the Trump administration or any later administration for that matter, which is not the course of action that I am rooting for as a satisfied customer. After all, they did that to Standard Oil and AT&T T, -3.03%
My technical take on bitcoin
My job requires me to talk to a lot of clients about the bigger picture when it comes to their investments. Therefore, I am a lot more macro-oriented and try to see through short-term market gyrations. But if one is around charts for a couple of decades in the trenches of the fascinating world of finance, one sooner or later gets to know something about the use of charts.
To be absolutely clear, I will never make an investment by looking at a chart alone. I have to understand what makes the chart “tick” and what makes an investment, as in the case of specific stocks, rise or fall. Since there never will be any profits, or cash flows for that matter, generated by bitcoin, ever, it is conceivable that it will go to zero, nada or nil. It does not take a genius to figure that one out.
That said, let me put my amateur technician’s hat on. It appears that bitcoin has broken below a major support level at $6,000 (see chart). The chart shows declining peaks and even lows that got taken out last week at that key level. If one reads the chart as $6,000 being the climactic low that was hit after the top was set on Dec. 18, 2017, and $12,000 is the first major rebound off that climactic low, then the bitcoin chart has formed a “bearish wedge,” or a “descending triangle” pointing from $12,000 to $6,000. The measured move of that breakdown is $6,000 (or the width of the triangle) below the support level of $6,000.
In other words, bitcoin’s own chart is suggesting that it’s going to zero. How about them apples?