Chipmaker Nvidia is S&P 500’s runaway 2016 winner

US company seen as leader in chips for artificial intelligence and robotics

Soaring expectations for artificial intelligence may have threatened to tip over into tech industry hype this year, but they have thrown up at least one clear winner: chipmaker Nvidia, which has ridden a late-year rally to make it the top-performing stock in the S&P 500 by a wide margin.

Nvidia has become a key supplier to all the leading tech companies involved in deep learning, the current state of the art in AI.

It is widely credited with having developed the best chips for training the artificial neural networks built by companies including Google, Amazon and Baidu to do things like recognise images or understand language.

"I've never seen such agreement about a technology," said Patrick Moorhead, a chip analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "I think they're two to three years ahead of Intel. "


Nvidia reported blowout earnings early last month. Since then its shares have risen another 64 per cent, adding $23 billion to its market value.

At 238 per cent, its stock market gain this year has far outpaced every other company in the S&P 500, with second-placed natural gas company Oneok rising 135 per cent.

– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016)