Reply to post: Misleading language

Raising the price of in-demand processors really helps the bottom line, says AMD

fredblogggs Bronze badge

Misleading language

"AMD is paying out $0.75 per share for the quarter..."

AMD stock does not pay out anything. Although the company has been in business continuously for more than 50 years, I was not able to find any evidence that it has ever paid any dividends at all, it definitely has not done so since at least 1997, and the stock does not pay one currently.

The $0.75 figure is earnings per share, which is the amount of money you are notionally entitled to as a shareholder from the profits of the business. Whether you will ever see it depends upon the board's dividend policy (which seems obvious in this instance) as well as the future of the business. Usually even companies that do pay dividends never pay more than a modest fraction of the profits to shareholders before squandering the rest on bad acquisitions, failed turnaround plans, executive bonuses and stock buyback schemes, and ultimately on debt obligations that lead to bankruptcy and the cancellation of all shares. Given AMD's history, the likelihood that you the shareholder will ever receive a dividend has to be pretty close to zero, which means that's also the true value of the share regardless of how much you like the business or the technology (and astute readers will know that I do like the technology and their industry leadership quite a bit).

Whether shareholders will be happy with the EPS figure is a bit speculative. Certainly I would be happy to own shares in a company generating that kind of profit if I were also receiving a quarterly dividend of, say, 30 cents a share, but how much would I pay for such a share? Probably no more than about $40, and if it were a company with AMD's horrific track record of brief intervals of technical brilliance interleaved with long stretches of gross mismanagement and technical incompetence leading to repeated brushes with corporate death, I'm pretty sure I would not be interested in it even if the price were as low as $30. If I were someone who has recently paid well over $100, I would not be at all satisfied with EPS of $0.75. At that kind of price and given both the high risk of total loss at some time in the next 20 years and the potential for continued double-digit profit growth over the next several years, I would expect quarterly EPS of at least $2 a share and a quarterly dividend of at least 80 cents. But that's just me: I'm a very unusual investor in that I expect to be receive a return when I take risks. Most people who buy stocks today are not investors at all but "momentum traders" whose strategy is to buy what everyone else has been buying and hope that continues forever. I'm sure the current shareholders who've never thought about how long it will take them to recover their initial investment, are unfamiliar with AMD's (recent!) history, and have never heard of discounted present value are quite happy with this report, because it means the quoted market price of their worthless holdings will go up and they'll feel wealthier. But even if the rosiest possible scenario plays out for AMD from here, there's little chance that anyone paying $124 for a share will ever get a significant fraction of it back, and the best chance of getting anything at all is probably for the company to be acquired for $2 a share many years from now after the inevitable series of technical blunders (however much you trust Ms. Su, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of a succession plan) and the decline of x86 into irrelevance leave the company a heavily indebted shell with a few useful patents someone else will pick up for a song.

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