Weekly Update: 2.5.18

TAPER TANTRUM II: Stocks Are NOT Happy With The Bond Market & They Both Need a Time Out

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How does closing and shorting the TQQQ last week and selling lagging or fully valued stocks looking now? The $145 April TQQQ put option correction insurance policy we bought last week for $7.75 now is bid $18.50. The futures are slightly green up 1/2 percent for the open tomorrow and the after market on the QQQ is down 1%. 

If you HAVE NOT read our January Newsletter yet, check your email box and read it and if you HAVE read it REREAD it. 

Everything we talked about on January 30th is even more relevant on Feb 4th. 

Action to Take: NOTHING YET. This is NOT the end of the bull market...it IS the beginning of the MUCH NEEDED correction to take the froth out of everything from cannabis stocks to crypto stocks to Bitcoin and yes the WAY above trend stock market. The average rate of return in the S&P 500 since 1989 has been 7% annual return including dividends--it's 9.8% since 1924.

The 90% annualized return in January was as I shared---NOT SUSTAINABLE. AS I SAID we were witnessing a new marginal buyer in stocks...millennials buying crypto and cannabis stocks and FOMO retail investors opening trading accounts in RECORD numbers buying index funds.  
Important Perspective: 

  • 100% of the 5% corrections in stock market history were followed by a higher high.
  • 100% of the 10% corrections in stock market history were followed by a higher high.

If that was not the case, we would not call them corrections. Today we broke the 50-day moving averages which set off a lot of trend/momentum sell orders from the black box traders and CTA funds. But that was NOT the real story today.  

All the major indexes broke their 50-day support so the next level is 100-day. IF a green open is met tomorrow with sellers with market orders we should woosh to the 100-day average on BIG volume. You will note that all major indexes have been overbought aka that green blob in the upper right hand corner for ALL of January...the correction trap was loaded...all it needed was a match. 

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The S&P 500 Index is basically AT it's 100-day moving average...we will see if the algorithm traders bid stocks at 100-day or not. If a rally tomorrow does not hold and reverses under the 100-day, the next real price support is the 200-day about 100 points away. THIS to me is better buying target as REAL corrections break the 200-day...wander a few trading days under...and when the market order marginal selling volume dries up all the sellers who were GOING to sell SOLD...and now owners RAISE their asking prices as computer reversal programs kick in with market orders.   

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But WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE STOCK MARKET TODAY according to THE HUMANs  who were in the middle of this shit show aka my Wall Street floor broker and trader friends about the the  brutal unwinding of the 2x-3x Leveraged VIX ETNs. These are 1-to-1 inverse exchange traded derivative NOTES. THAT means IF the underlying index (in this case the S&P Volatility Index that tracks to cost of buying forward month put options) goes UP 100% the ETN not upon rebalancing is worth...zero.

And that is what happened. 

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TT my trader talked me through how those 2X and 3X short VIX ETN's blew up $2-$3 billion on the spike from 15-36...and another $10 billion in the aftermarket as the underlying notes got repriced to...ZERO. This chaos was really unbelievable as the rise created all kinds of forced buying and liquidating of hedges and short covering by market makers and the velocity of the VIX rise shot off all kids of cashiered liquidation selling...what a shit show.

It SO reminded me being in a big Merrill Lynch office on October 19, 1987 Black Monday when the new whiz bang "portfolio insurance" products sold to pension plans to "lock in profits" ATE THEMSELVES ALIVE and crashed the cash market 22% in one day..and clients who could NOT get a phone call returned left work to come to the office...OH what a shit show!

IN short; there was ALL KINDS of algorithmic and "risk-correlation" buying and selling triggered by a rise in the risk. With the aftermarket settlement taking the short ETFs and ETNs down 90%+ , the Dow could have easily been down 2500 points if ALL that VIX short covering happened in the trading hours.

Why? Because these daily ETFs and ETNs re-balance every day--usually at 3:40. The market makers could NOT rebalance them...they got rebalanced in the after hours...see below!

Forced selling anyone? After falling 14.3% in the regular session, the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETF (NASDAQ:XIV) has plunged another 82% in after hours action or just 4% of its value left. The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEARCA:SVXY), fell 32% in the regular session, and is off another 54.5% after hours. I'm not going to waste your time going through all the technical market issues here, but look at this VIX ETN AFTER the close today:

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This from Bloomberg in November :"Traders are FLOODING VIX Daily Inverse Funds with $Billions"  This was after the WSJ article
My trading desk guy TT said " My FAVORITE market scam was the WSJ report on a guy at home in his underwear shorting the #VIX selling call options everyday and making $15 million and then of course setting up a hedge fund to trade $50 million of VIX ETFs etc. Today was ALL ABOUT Short volatility ETF and ETN players getting blown up being short $10 BILLION of VIX contracts and having to cover by selling OTHER liquid positions in order to not go bust!"

This from the Financial Times on the the potential for disaster in the Short the VIX trade...in 2014!
"What if everyone, including the end user, would rather collect premiums ("sell volatility") than buy protection and volatility? With more sellers than buyers premiums will NOT offset the risk and theoretically many of the participants will eventually go bust. This is exactly what is happening in volatility markets today. The market has figured out that aggressively fading volatility spikes has been a profitable trade during the QEIII regime and now this has become dominant paradigm. Traders are aggressively betting for the VIX to drop after each mini-crisis, this is now the dominant trade, not the other way around. Nobody is a true contrarian for betting on a lower VIX. "

Lesson: WHEN ANY easy money strategy gets into the Wall Street Journal, and ESPECIALLY 2X/3X leveraged, that strategy has 4-6 months to go before its so crowded it blows up.

Action to Take: IF we get another parabolic leg DOWN after the open ..and the VIX STILL is trading...I'm going take that trade!

But the REAL Threat to Market Meltdown is our $Trillion of Visible and Invisible Margin Loans Against Stocks. 

It was record MARGIN in stocks that created a forced liquidation day today...and most likely tomorrow if as I assume a bounce is met with more forced liquidations after 10am. Capitulation happens when forced liquidation ends. Liquidation selling is when your fund or your personal account gets an SEC Margin call before 10 am....you gotta pay off your margin by 2:30 OR the SEC makes your broker liquidates enough to cover your margin loan. It's called being "cashiered" as the cashiers at the brokerage firms sell WHATEVER THEY CAN to pay off the margin loan...at whatever market prices. Today the margin calls were the "marginal seller" of stocks...ironic eh?

This chart shows margin debt (red line, left scale) and the S&P 500 (blue line, right scale), as of end of October both adjusted for inflation to tune out the effects of the dwindling value of the dollar over the decades (chart by Advisor Perspectives):

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Note: TOTAL NYSE member broker margin debt as of Oct 2, 2018 was near $550 billion and it ran another $70 billion to nearly $620 billion by February 2, 2018

Lesson to all: Stock market leverage is ALWAYS the big accelerator for a melt-up. This is what I was LOOKING for in September to fuel the melt-up--hedge funds levering up to try to improve their horrible results by buying momentum stocks aka the Church of What is Working Now.

This isn’t money moving from one asset to another. This is money that is being created to be plowed into stocks. And when stocks sink, leverage becomes the big accelerator on the way down. When stocks are dumped to pay down margin debt, the money from those stock sales doesn’t go into another asset and doesn’t sit around as cash ready to be deployed. It just disappears--it goes to what we call  "money heaven"--its where money borrowed to buy stocks (or bitcoin!) goes if you can't sell your stock or bitcoin for more than you borrowed and have to make up the difference by selling other assets. 

Key Point: Even the Fed is now worried about margin debt and a slew of other factors not related to consumer price inflation but to assets, asset prices, and debt. Yellen gaver "irrational exuberance" speech last week. Here is the latest from Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan  discussing financial and economic imbalances, specifically addressed the “record-high levels” of margin debt. HIS premise is that “there are costs to accommodation in the form of distortions and imbalances,” and when “excesses ultimately need to be unwound, this can result in a sudden downward shift in demand for investment and consumer-related durable goods.” Kaplan:

It is of course possible that “this time will be different,” but as I assess the condition of the U.S. economy, I am carefully monitoring evidence that might suggest growing risks of real imbalances, which could threaten the sustainability of the current economic expansion.

Among the excesses he is “monitoring”:

  • US stock market capitalization is at 145% of GDP, “the highest since 1999/2000.”
  • “Commercial real estate cap rates and valuation measures of debt and other markets appear notably extended.”
  • Stock market volatility is “historically low.” He adds: “We have now gone 12 months without a 3% correction in the U.S. market. This is extraordinarily unusual.”
  • Corporate debt is now at “record highs.”
  • US government debt held by the public is now at “75% of GDP” (with the gross national debt at 105% of GDP), and “the present value of unfunded entitlements now stands at approximately $49 trillion.”
  • “The projected path of U.S. government debt to GDP is unlikely to be sustainable – and has been made to appear more manageable due to today’s historically low interest rates.”

Trading volumes of bonds and stocks have “markedly declined,” he says, pointing a NYSE trading volume that has plunged 51% from 2007 levels, even as the NYSE market cap has soared 28%.  Let's not forget we only have 3600 stocks trading on stock exchanges...that is down from 8500 in 2000. The drop in trading is almost ALL because of ETF funds and 65% LESS stocks.

Good news: As we said the new marginal buyer of stocks are the millennials and FOMO retail money showed up in December and they bought stocks with CASH not margin.

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The Fed's Kaplan warns us that margin debt has reached “record-high levels,” : “In the event of a sell-off, high levels of margin debt can encourage additional selling, which could, in turn, lead to a more rapid tightening of financial conditions." He adds that during a sell-off, “sufficient market trading liquidity is key to managing the resulting increased volume,” he says.

What he forgot to say is this market reality: The liquidity from margin debt VANISHES during a sell-off just when the selling kicks off in earnest and liquidity is needed the most.

So by how much has margin debt exploded? The chart below shows the percentage growth of inflation-adjusted margin debt and the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index. Note how much faster margin debt has increased compared to the S&P 500 index in recent years (chart by Advisor Perspectives):

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But this is only the reported stock-market leverage. It accounts for only a fraction of the total leverage in the stock market. Stocks can be leveraged in many ways. For example, executives often borrow from their company to buy their company stock and put up those shares as collateral for a "risk collar." Or larger players, such as hedge funds, can borrow at the institutional level to fund stock purchases that do NOT show up in the NYSE margin numbers.  Then there are securities-based loans (SBLs), offered by financial firms to their clients. These loans can be used to buy anything, such as a boat or a vacation. They’re called “shadow margin” because no one knows the magnitude, but it’s huge, and it’s booming.

What the Fed is worried about is a replay of the last financial events – such as the 57% decline of the S&P 500 during the Financial Crisis – that were amplified by margin debt. Stock market leverage, all types of leverage combined, not just margin debt, is considered the best thing since sliced bread and makes everyone rich as long as stock prices are rising. But stock market leverage turns into a time bomb on the way down.

Kaplan is among a number of Fed governors who’ve indicated in this manner why rates need to rise (albeit “gradually”) though inflation, as the Fed defines it, remains below its target: It’s about asset prices, debt levels, and risks. They don’t want a repeat of 2008/2009. It seems they want the bubble they created to deflate gradually so it doesn’t take down the economy

Good luck with that. 

The "Bernanke Put" under the stock market became the Yellen Put and now we will see the Powell put...his first day on the job!.These momo melt ups and downs you get to see "who is swimming naked" like Buffet says. Naked in the market means who is too long and levered when the market moves against them. 

I have seen dozens of these forced liquidation days...but it IS different today with with ETFs and "risk parity" systems and of course black box algo's. The FLUSH of forced selling was NOT today...the market drop of the last hour key 10am margin call hour tomorrow will add more forced selling. 

Key point: When you have so much fast/hot money pouring into ANYTHING all it takes is a match to light it on fire...that match for the stock market bond market yields going up...Fed does not control price of bonds...markets do. 

Really Key Point: With the Fed reporting they have sold $400 billion of US bonds recently and U.S. Treasury now required to sell an additional $150 billion for the next 10 years (perhaps only $1 trillion in total with higher tax receipts) AND foreign buyers with currency risk of buying relatively high yielding US 10 year bonds NOW sitting on their hands or buying Euro or Yen denominated bonds, we are having a "price discovery moment" in the bond market and equities: what IS the S&P 500 worth with $155-$160 of earnings per share IF core inflation moves above 2% and 10-year moves to 3% yield. When does the 15% ish higher corporate EPS in 2018 (including tax savings) get discounted by higher 5 and 10 year bond rates and hurt by higher lending costs?

Like I said --we are having that price/value discovery debate in real time. What 's new this time is we have never seen a $1.5 trillion tax cut poured into an already 3% growing economy...never. It's the known unknown. And with Europe and Japan back with real GDP growth over 2% and more to come as THEY cut corporate taxes (or lose companies to the US) this synchronized GDP expansion means that rising Euro and falling dollar will keep Euro and Yen currency investors in their own home equity market for now. BUT as the dollar rout bottoms and US bond prices get a firm bid near/at a 3% handle the EPS growth in the equity markets will once again be attractive to growth investors hiding in 3% bonds. 

Action to Take: When we smell REAL capitulation selling (high volume, over 40-50 VIX) we WILL add some new sector plays and SHORT the VIX as it too easy to pass-up with inexpensive options. 

Our Transformity Research MacroMarket Index: 19.4---that is the highest its EVER been backtested to 1988
Without today's labor numbers here is what our favorite leading forecast of GDP in Q1: 5.4 percent — February 1, 2018

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2018 is 5.4 percent on February 1, up from 4.2 percent on January 29. The forecast of real consumer spending growth increased from 3.1 percent to 4.0 percent after this morning's Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management, while the forecast of real private fixed-investment growth increased from 5.2 percent to 9.2 percent after the ISM report and this morning's construction spending release from the U.S. Census Bureau. The model's estimate of the dynamic factor for January—normalized to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1 and used to forecast the yet-to-be released monthly GDP source data—increased from 0.42 to 1.37 after the ISM report.

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The MORE conservative New York Fed "Nowcast" shows 3.4% GDP Growth in Q1 2018. IF you put these forecasts together you get 4.4% GDP growth average which is what we do to forecast GDP growth in our MacroMarket Index. 
 
The Fed RISK: But what I and EVERYONE was laser-focused on the average hourly earnings print and it beat in a big way up to 2.9 percent, the largest rise since June 2009, from 2.7 percent in December. That was the largest annual gain in more than 8-1/2 years, bolstering expectations that inflation will push higher this year as the labor market hits full employment. “The acceleration in average hourly earnings growth punches a hole in the narrative that wage growth remains lackluster,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco.

Key Point: The Goldilocks view of inflation is being sorely challenged right now.

Okay, this is when I get to remind you about the whole "good news is bad news" thing again. Stocks are now taking their cues from the ongoing bond selloff. The question WAS" is whether the ongoing bond rout will further undermine the stock market rally."

That question was answered Friday and today: Equities reached a breaking point in terms of how much they can take rising yields and the biggest momentum stocks got "over their skis" aka too much future earning value pulled forward into today. 

Generally speaking, the post-crisis world has been defined by a scenario wherein rising yields and inflation expectations were seen as a kind of barometer for the robustness of the recovery, but now, the narrative is threatening to reverse course. "Too much" good news on the inflation front and rising yields are now seen as a possible justification for more aggressive central banks (i.e. hawkishness) especially with the eurozone PMIs we got this week:

The data out of Europe continues to suggest that the European economy is on the way to overheating. If you read the commentary that accompanied Thursday's PMI numbers, what you come away thinking is that price pressures are likely to build.

Well on Friday morning, the jobs report (full breakdown here) was accompanied by the best y/y average hourly earnings print since 2009:

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Here's what Max Kettner, a London-based cross-asset strategist at Commerzbank AG, told Bloomberg before the numbers hit:

Any positive surprise in average hourly earnings could easily exacerbate the bearish steepening of the Treasury curve, so if we end up with a better-than-expected jobs number and higher-than-expected wage growth the rout in equities might in fact deepen further.

This was the setup coming into Friday's jobs number:

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And here's what happened when the numbers crossed the wires:

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Make no mistake, this is an issue. On the one hand, it underscores the notion that the economy is on solid footing, but the more evidence we get that the overheating labor market is manifesting itself in price pressures, the more likely it is that the Fed will get progressively more hawkish.

The conundrum here is this: If they stay behind in the face of rising inflation, they'll bear steepen the curve, but if they hike, rates would rise. This is Deutsche Bank's Aleksandar Kocic details INFLATION RISK very well:

What must not be, cannot be: Inflation cannot be allowed to develop because it would be no way of avoiding dramatic rise in rates. If the Fed embarks on aggressive hikes in order to fight inflation, rates would rise. If the Fed stays behind the curve, the market ITSELF would bear steepen the curve. Either way, the long rates go up.

See the issue here? There doesn't appear to be an easy way out of this and to the extent stocks are going to continue to trade on cues from long rates, it would appear that we have a problem.

Meanwhile, flows into equities have been inexorable as my chart above shows record index fund inflows and new account openings. 

Key point:  I guarantee you the new money/marginal buyer coming into the market represents investors are NOT familiar with the dynamic described above i.e., stocks now taking their cues from the bond rout. Look at this chart:

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(Heisenberg)

Client activity at TD surged nearly 50% y/y in the quarter ended December. That, by definition, represents retail money.

Meanwhile, remember that Bull & Bear indicator I  showed that had just flashed a sell signal and which, according to BofAML, is 11/11 when it comes to timing the market? Yeah, well it's flashing an even brighter sell signal as of Friday. 

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My Short Term Concern:

Tightly wound correlations between assets have prevailed in recent trade on Wall Street, and they are at their highest level since December 2012, according to another Deutsche Bank’s chief strategist I like Binky Chadha. Chadha says closely bound correlations, meaning that a move in one directly influences a move in another, reflects market extremes as investors flock into certain assets.

The Deutsche Bank analyst says cross-asset correlations are at 90%. A reading of 100% represents perfect correlation, where assets tend to move in the same direction at the same time.

He notes that crude-oil prices CLJ8, -0.90% are up nearly 60% over the past seven months, the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.01%  has climbed by about 32% since around November 2016, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.47%  is up more than 43%. The dollar, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar IndexDXY, +0.53% is down 9% over the past 13 months, and the 10-year note yieldTMUBMUSD10Y, +1.81%  is up about 76 basis points over the past five months. Bond prices and yields move in the opposite direction.

However, Chadha says a pullback in one asset for idiosyncratic reasons would likely spill over to the others, given the current level of correlations (see chart below):

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The Deutsche Bank analysts says the dollar has the potential to have the biggest cross-asset effect:

A rise in the dollar has potentially the widest fundamental impact across asset classes. Arguably its depreciation has been an important driver of the run up in oil prices to which breakeven inflation and bond yields have been well correlated. The decline in the dollar and higher oil prices have been a significant positive for equities but in our view not the most important as the drivers of the rebound in earnings have been very broad based (Very Strong Earnings Growth Before Tax Reform, Jan 2017).

Already, the impact of rising yields is playing out in the market with a 10-year Treasury yield busting through 2.84%, hitting its highest level in about four years and rattling U.S. stocks. Rising yields increase costs for companies and richer yields can undercut appetite for risk assets like stocks.

My short term worry are the OTHER factors that could set the markets up for a hard fall: Margin unwind, rookie marginal buyers, growing Fed hawkishness. A good flush of panic and liquidation selling is needed to put a floor under this bull market; we should see this with a few more days of rally, sell the rally, panic selling and then magically all the panicked and forced liquidation selling dries up and BOOM bottom fishers give us a market bottom and the rally off the bottom sets of the momentum shift algo buyers and OUR stocks are flying again.

I am worried about (as I talked about in the January Newsletter) the 1-2 punch of the weak dollar and strong fiscal stimulus of the tax cuts eating up economic and labor capacity TOO FAST and that forcing the Fed to "invert" short term rates that will go higher than long term rates...and even more worried about the velocity of that rise. 

What I am NOT worried about is the 5-10-20X faster sector growth in our favorite secular growth sectors. BUT...our game plan here is to SELL short covering "rips" up (short covering is unnatural buying of stock...the opposite of forced liquidation) and build enough cash to lower our risk as earnings season peters out and the risk of a faster steeper Fed tightening can be assessed.

 With our TQQQ put profits our portfolio is profitable for the year and I want to keep it that way. I will feel a LOT better with adding our great companies growing top line and bottom lines 20-30% and selling at prices under the 17 P/e's.

BUT YOU CAN'T take advantage of mispriced stocks (Corrections and melt-ups ALWAYS overshoot to the upside and downside) in bull markets. AND you can count on the new Fed Chairman to NOT want his legasy to be "The MOFO Who Killed the Mighty 2019-2018 Bull Market.:

Bull markets are caused by recessions caused by two things: short term Interest rates raised too high to slow down inflation spikes or an outlier financial systemic crisis aka dotcom and tech stock bubble in 2000 and financial system meltdown in 2008.

WITH the global expansion improving macroeconomic fundamentals...and a new dovish new Fed chair...once we take the hot air out of the market REAL money will go the REAL secular growth areas and IP leaders of the first two decades of the 21st century. It will because NO ONE can resist a great fundamental story if you are investing for growth and not income.

Toby
PS: We are hard at work on a new monthly income advisory service: The $10K Per Month Club...stay tuned...!

Opinion: Here’s what AMD needs to do in 2018 to maintain the momentum of its comeback

 Bloomberg News/Landov  AMD sales jumped nearly 25% in 2017, when the company produced profit for the first time since 2011.

Bloomberg News/Landov

AMD sales jumped nearly 25% in 2017, when the company produced profit for the first time since 2011.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the perennial underdog to Intel Corp., just completed its first profitable year since 2011 as the chip maker’s turnaround showed actual results, but 2018 will be even more important.

AMD’s stronger-than-expected fourth quarter included a huge 60% jump in revenue in its compute and graphics business, due to its new Ryzen and Radeon chips in desktop PCs, laptops and Macs. Total revenue jumped 34% to $1.48 billion, boosting full-year revenue to $5.33 billion for growth of nearly 25%.

“2017 marked a key product and financial inflection point for AMD,” Chief Executive Lisa Su told analysts on the conference call. “Our newest wave of high-performance products and consistent execution created significant momentum for our business over the past year.”

Don’t miss: AMD earnings show crypto and PC strength, stock bounces around

Nothing has changed for AMD’s volatile stock, however. After declining for the full year in 2017, even as revenue was growing and the company returned to profitability, AMD AMD, +6.68%  shares are up 25% so far in January while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.42% has gained just 5.5% after a decline in the last two days. That type of uneven performance was evident just in after-hours trading Tuesday. AMD shares jumped to $13.50 after closing at $12.87, then tumbled to $12.05 before roaring back to about $13.

Investors are right to be careful with AMD, as it has previously shown progress in a promised turnaround before eventually lapsing. To avoid such a fate with this effort, Su must maintain the gains in PCs and cryptocurrency mining while busting into the booming market for server chips.

Many investors are focused on how the company is going to fare in the server market, where it hopes to take some share from chip giant Intel INTC, -1.19% , which dominates the data-center market with a nearly 97% stake. Su told investors that the company’s re-entry into the server market “remains on track” and that it is seeing a “steady drumbeat of adoption” with design wins and deployments at many customers of its new Epyc server chips, including its first cloud customer, Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT, +2.52%  Azure, for its virtual machine servers.


How machine learning is teaching drones to see for themselves

In 2018, AMD must show continued growth in servers to prove that its initial pilot programs and smaller server deployments can translate into higher volume sales. Su told analysts that 2018 is the “defining year” for its server business and AMD remains focused on “achieving double-digit market share” in servers. AMD’s current server market share would need a microscope for proper measurement.

Opinion: Cryptocurrencies must be a big part of AMD’s road map for competing with Nvidia

In the cryptocurrency arena, which is one reason AMD’s shares have been so volatile, the company needs to show that sales of its chips to cryptocurrency miners will continue to be a solid business, or ensure in some way that a decline in those sales will not hurt its growth. During the call, Su said that it is hard to get an exact number on blockchain-related sales, but said crypto appeared to be slightly higher than her previous estimate of a “mid-single-digits percentage of our annual revenue.”

“It may be a little bit higher than that,” Su said Tuesday. “Let’s call it a point or so, but really a lot of our growth is outside of the blockchain market.”


Read also: At CES, Spectre haunted tech executives in public and private meetings

Lastly, but possibly most important, AMD needs to follow through with Tuesday’s promise to release new chips that are more secure. Su said AMD will release changes to its new processor cores, such as its Zen 2 design, to take into account the microprocessor-security vulnerabilities reported in January. Su said its Zen 2 design is complete and will be sampling to customers later this year.

If AMD accomplishes all these things, the company should be able to confidently say it is in a new era, with sales of its chips for data centers and corporate servers proving that profits could be here to stay. The only question remaining would be if investors would buy in for good and leave the volatility behind.

 

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Updates/AlertsTobin Smith