Much like the technology trends of the past, artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially help turn investors into millionaires. The performance of stocks like Nvidia and the recoveries of numerous other stocks from their 2022 bear market lows reflects the tremendous growth that these new technologies are driving for the companies involved, and the willingness of investors to pay for it.
Recently, investors have begun to gravitate toward smaller companies with the potential for massive growth. As AI makes more headway among investors, businesses, and consumers, these AI stocks could deliver outsized gains to investors.
Investors should not ignore the AI-driven opportunity in Palantir (NYSE: PLTR). The company has long used machine learning and other AI tools to deliver analytical insights to clients in the national defense and commercial realms. The success of its platforms has helped it grow its revenue and profits.
However, the Palantir Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP) may take its AI prowess to a much higher level. AIP employs generative AI technology, and the company has heavily promoted the product recently through what it calls “boot camps,” where it helps prospective customers find real-world ways to use the technology to their benefit. Clients that attend these boot camps have reported eye-popping productivity gains from them, such as producing outputs 10 times faster with one-third of the resources.
Admittedly, the impacts of AIP have not yet shown up in the company’s headline numbers. In the first three quarters of 2023, its revenue rose 16% to $1.6 billion. Also, Palantir limited operating expense growth, resulting in a net income of $120 million during that timeframe. Due to investors’ optimism about the company’s future, its stock has risen by about 110% over the last year.
With that gain behind it, the stock now trades at a price-to-sales ratio of 17, a valuation that may give some investors pause. Still, when factoring in the growth potential, others might see it as a relative bargain based on its forward P/E ratio of 55. If AIP’s successes start translating into revenue gains, a surge in the stock could bring investors closer to millionaire status.
Super Micro Computer (NASDAQ: SMCI) — better known simply as Supermicro — has existed for over 30 years, but it may finally be getting its moment in the sunshine amid the AI revolution. It describes itself as a “rack-scale total IT solutions provider,” building servers for big data, cloud computing, enterprise, 5G, and other applications.
However, it has drawn particular attention with its servers for data centers powered by Nvidia’s AI chips. With more than 6 million square feet of manufacturing space and operations in over 100 countries, it has positioned itself to take this technology wherever customers demand it.
Indeed, interest in its products has begun to skyrocket. In the first six months of its fiscal 2024 (a period that ended Dec. 31), its revenue rose 58% year over year to $5.8 billion. But because operating expenses also rose rapidly, its net income increased by just 25% to $453 million.
Since those higher operating expenses appear to have been primarily related to improvements, investors seem to be less concerned about them, and more focused on the company’s burgeoning AI opportunity. The stock has risen by an eye-popping 695% over the past year, and doubled since the beginning of 2024.
Despite that gain, its price-to-earnings ratio is around 43, a relatively moderate level considering its revenue growth. Considering that the stock trades at just 26 times forward earnings, it is probably not too late for investors to see further substantial gains in Supermicro.
Upstart Holdings (NASDAQ: UPST) seeks to upend the loan evaluation business using AI. According to internal studies, it has found loan opportunities overlooked by Fair Isaac‘s FICO scoring tool, allowing Upstart’s lending clients to approve more loans without increasing their risks.
The FICO score is particularly vulnerable to disruption since its processes have changed little since Fair Isaac launched the scoring tool in 1989. Also, because Upstart seeks to earn revenue on evaluations only, it should carry little credit risk, in theory.
Unfortunately for the company, its period of fast growth and profitability ended abruptly as interest rates rose. Its fairly small client base and high dependence on two large clients have also hampered Upstart, as did its decision to widen its business model and become the lender on some of the loans its platform approved.
Consequently, its revenue in the first nine months of 2023 fell 46% year over year to $408 million. Nonetheless, in Q3, its revenue rose 3% from the previous quarter to $147 million, suggesting that the worst may be over. Also, the stock’s price-to-sales ratio stands at just 5, a small fraction of where it stood in the previous bull market.
Upstart carries significant risk, but its platform’s ability to approve more loans without increasing lenders’ credit risk could offer tremendous value, especially if more banks use it to replace the FICO score model. If more banks adopt its tool and interest rates head lower, Upstart could deliver massive shareholder returns.
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Will Healy has positions in Palantir Technologies and Upstart. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Nvidia, Palantir Technologies, and Upstart. The Motley Fool recommends Fair Isaac and Super Micro Computer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
3 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Stocks That Could Help Make You a Millionaire was originally published by The Motley Fool