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3 AI-Backed Stocks That Could Return Magnificent Gains in 2024

Motley Fool - Mon Nov 20, 2023

If you don't already own artificial intelligence stocks, you're likely to be missing out on one of the biggest technology inflections in history. But if you fear you've already missed the boat, keep in mind many key AI industry participants still trade below their 2021 highs.

But as interest rates stabilize and AI tailwinds sustain as many suspect, look for these three names to make new all-time highs -- likely in 2024.

Amazon

The AI world got a shock on Friday, when OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired by OpenAI's board of directors. While the situation appears fluid and Altman may be able to return, it is clearly a less-than-ideal situation.

In the cloud industry, OpenAI investor Microsoft(NASDAQ: MSFT) is thought to have the AI lead because of the OpenAI partnership, but the current chaos may have thrown that "lead" into question. Meanwhile Amazon(NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft's chief rival in the cloud computing space, is making its own AI moves.

September was actually a momentous month for Amazon's AI ambitions. Amazon Web Services made its AWS Bedrock service generally available to enterprise customers. Bedrock is AWS's generative AI platform, whereby companies will be able to access large language models (LLMs) from leading AI start-ups AI21 Labs, Anthropic, Cohere, Stability AI, and also Meta Platforms' LLM, called Llama. In addition, Amazon has pre-trained models of its own called Titan, which customers can combine with their own private data to glean insights. Finally, Amazon's AI-powered Code Whisperer helps developers write and implement software code quickly and efficiently with natural language prompts.

September also saw Amazon announce a strategic collaboration with AI start-up Anthropic. In exchange for a minority investment up to $4 billion, Anthropic will commit to using AWS as its primary cloud provider, and use Amazon's in-house-designed Trainium and Inferentia chips. The deal in many ways is Amazon's answer to Microsoft's collaboration with OpenAI, so we will see if the Anthropic deal gives Amazon a leg up in the AI wars.

And of course, Amazon is an innovative company with huge scale across its e-commerce, advertising, and other consumer businesses. That size and data advantage should also allow Amazon's other businesses to benefit from efficiencies gleaned from AI. And that may already be happening; last quarter, Amazon's non-cloud North American business grew 11%, and its International business grew 16%, which are very healthy rates for businesses that large.

Given that Amazon is still 25% below its all-time highs, Amazon is a "Prime" candidate for a strong 2024.

Micron Technology

As the cloud computing business seems to be bottoming out, so is the memory industry. Micron Technology(NASDAQ: MU) is one of only three major DRAM manufacturers, and the only one based in the United States.

Fortunately for Micron, artificial Intelligence servers require multiples more DRAM than traditional enterprise servers, and research firm Trendforce recently projected AI server unit shipments will grow at a mid-teens rate for the next five years.

That should help underpin the DRAM market, which is due for an upturn even outside of AI servers. The post-pandemic period led to the worst-ever drop in demand for PC and mobile DRAM in mid-2022, but that long down-cycle has also shown recent signs of turning around:

MU EBIT (Quarterly) Chart

MU EBIT (Quarterly) data by YCharts

Not only that, but Micron has overtaken its rivals on leading technology nodes over the past year. A year ago, Micron was the first company to manufacture DRAM on the 1-beta node. Recently, Micron introduced its new 128 GB RDIMM DRAM module built on 32GB DDR5 DRAM dies that is highly desirable for AI applications. And next year, Micron will begin shipping its new high-bandwidth memory (HBM3) for AI applications, whose specs exceed those of competitors' offerings in the market today.

With the memory market bottoming out and AI-related demand tailwinds just starting to kick in, Micron should see its current losses turn into profits -- potentially, big profits -- next year.

Super Micro Computer

Unlike Amazon and Micron, server maker Super Micro Computer(NASDAQ: SMCI) reached an all-time high earlier this year, but it has backtracked about 20% off those highs from early August. Despite its outperformance over the past two years, shares still don't look expensive at 26 times trailing earnings and 16.7 times 2024 earnings estimates, with Super Micro's fiscal year ending next June.

Super Micro's energy-efficient servers with unique features such as liquid cooling and building-block architecture have found favor with artificial intelligence companies. Over the past year, the majority of SMCI's revenue now come from AI-related servers. Given the hypergrowth projected for AI servers going forward, Super Micro should be a strong grower not only this year, but for years to come.

This year, Super Micro announced a new Malaysia manufacturing plant that will come online in 2024, which should double the capacity of the company and lower its manufacturing costs significantly. And just two weeks ago, Super Micro announced it can now deliver 5,000 server racks per month as a result of surging demand. Why is this important? Because just two quarters ago, management had hoped to reach 4,000 racks per month by year-end. That means Super Micro is exceeding its own goals in meeting strong demand.

Super Micro also plans to grow well beyond this year. While it has guided for revenue of $10 billion to $11 billion in fiscal 2024, CEO Charles Liang has set a goal for $20 billion, which he sees, "just a couple years away." Super Micro has a profitable history of beating its own guidance and publicly stated goals, so the company could get there even faster.

That makes it a stock that can soar even further in 2024.

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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. Billy Duberstein has positions in Amazon, Meta Platforms, Micron Technology, Microsoft, and Super Micro Computer and has the following options: short January 2025 $110 puts on Super Micro Computer, short January 2025 $125 puts on Super Micro Computer, short January 2025 $130 puts on Super Micro Computer, short January 2025 $280 calls on Super Micro Computer, short January 2025 $380 calls on Super Micro Computer, and short January 2025 $85 puts on Super Micro Computer. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Meta Platforms, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Super Micro Computer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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