Each quarter, publicly traded companies issue an update to investors featuring their latest financial results and operational milestones. An analysis of the most recent quarter (ended March 31) showed that a common theme emerged in the discussions regarding each stock: artificial intelligence (AI).
According to FactSet, 110 S&P 500 companies discussed AI in their earnings calls. That was a record high, and an increase of 80% compared to the same time last year.
Microsoft, Tesla, and Amazon were among the most notable
Microsoft (MSFT 0.85%) is a shareholder of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, and the two companies have already completed a long list of integrations with the former’s various product offerings. On Microsoft’s recent earnings call, management said that 2,500 business customers had already signed up to use OpenAI on its Azure cloud platform — a whopping 1,000% increase in just three months.
Tesla (TSLA 3.11%) management told investors the beta version of its fully autonomous self-driving software had officially crossed 150 million miles driven in the real world. CEO Elon Musk said it was a data advantage none of its competitors could match, which suggests the electric vehicle specialist will be able to train its AI models better (and sooner) and perhaps help it win the race to fully autonomous operation.
Amazon (AMZN 1.21%) management discussed AI broadly, saying it plans to build every aspect of its business on top of large language models to reinvent customer experiences — from online shopping to advertising to entertainment.
While they’re some of the most popular AI stocks among investors, I’m going to share two others in the S&P 500 that are talking about the technology — and they could deliver significant upside from here.
1. Advanced Micro Devices: Selling picks and shovels amid the AI gold rush
Advanced Micro Devices‘ (AMD -1.35%) stock price has surged 86% this year despite relatively sluggish financial results for Q1. AI is certainly playing a role in investors’ enthusiasm, particularly after key rival Nvidia (NVDA -1.11%) recently revealed how impactful the technology could be by dramatically increasing its financial forecasts for the next quarter.
Nvidia has an estimated 90% market share in the data center semiconductors (chips) that companies need to train AI models, and AMD is working on eroding that dominance. In its first-quarter earnings call, management revealed the AMD-powered LUMI supercomputer in Europe was used to train the largest finished language model to date. But here’s the kicker: LUMI runs on the AMD MI250X data center chip, and the company’s new MI300 — which is slated for release later this year — will deliver up to 8 times greater performance.
It will be the world’s first advanced processing unit (APU) for data centers, which combines CPU and GPU technologies. CEO Lisa Su mentioned the new chip will power the new El Capitan supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, becoming the organization’s first exascale platform, with an estimated two exaflops of performance.
El Capitan is expected to be the world’s fastest supercomputer when it launches, and here’s a mind-boggling statistic: If all 7.7 billion people on Earth completed one calculation per second, it would take eight years for the world’s populace to do what El Capitan can do in one second.
Moreover, AMD has consolidated some of its AI teams into one department to accelerate its progress in this sector. It’s likely the company will eat into Nvidia’s market share over time, and I think that could pave the way for AMD to become a $1 trillion company within the next 10 years.
2. Meta Platforms: AI means less social networking and more entertainment
Meta Platforms (META) is the parent company of some of the world’s largest social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. When Facebook launched in 2004, it was designed to connect college students with their friends online, but it has evolved several times since then. It now helps family members stay in touch around the world, and it helps businesses reach their customers.
Today, it’s undergoing another transformation alongside Instagram, which not only prioritizes video content above photos and text, but also focuses on entertainment as opposed to social networking. The trend was ignited by ByteDance’s TikTok platform, which uses AI algorithms to learn what users like in order to feed them the video-based content they’re most likely to engage with.
Meta’s version of that is called Reels. It’s now active on both Facebook and Instagram, and the first quarter of 2023 was a breakout period for the feature. During the company’s earnings call, management told investors that rapidly improving AI algorithms led to a 24% increase in the amount of time users were spending on Instagram, and that AI was also boosting monetization efficiency for Reels. In other words, the algorithms were getting better at targeting ads toward specific users, which could be a precursor to businesses spending more money on Meta’s platforms.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said AI is currently Meta’s single largest investment, and the company is taking an open-source approach, which it hopes will result in more developers adopting its large language models. That would help Meta remain at the front of the pack, because more data equals better, more accurate AI models.
Given the improvement in monetization and increased time spent on Instagram, AI was a major catalyst in pushing Meta’s revenue back into growth territory in Q1, after it spent most of 2022 contracting (year over year). Combined with a series of cost cuts, it has sent Meta stock soaring 112% in 2023 so far. But the company’s AI journey is only just beginning, so investors might expect further strengthening of its financials and additional upside in its stock.
John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Anthony Di Pizio has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Advanced Micro Devices, Amazon.com, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.