What happened

NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) stock skyrocketed 76.3% last year, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Including dividends, the graphics-processing unit (GPU) specialist and artificial intelligence (AI) leader returned 76.9%. For context, the S&P 500 returned 31.5% in 2019.

This tech stock has made a commendable comeback after losing about half of its value in the last quarter of 2018. The reasons for the market's ire were the company's struggles in its gaming business due to the cryptocurrency bust and slowing growth in its data center platform. As of Jan. 7, NVIDIA stock is just 17% off its all-time closing high, set on Oct. 1, 2018. 

Outline of a person's head in blue overlaid on a semiconductor, on a black background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

We can attribute NVIDIA stock's powerful performance in 2019 to the company's improving financial performance in its most recent two quarters. While year-over-year revenue and earnings have declined in the last four quarters due to the previously noted issues, they have improved sequentially in the fiscal second and third quarters. 

In the third quarter, reported in mid-November, NVIDIA's revenue slipped 5% year over year to $3.01 billion and earnings per share (EPS), adjusted for one-time items, edged down 3% to $1.78. In the second quarter, revenue and adjusted EPS fell 17% and 36%, respectively.

Now what

Investors don't have that long to wait for material news, as NVIDIA should be reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year results for fiscal 2020 in mid-February.

Wall Street expects NVIDIA to resume growth on its top and bottom lines in the fourth quarter. Analysts are looking for adjusted EPS of $1.66 on revenue of $2.96 billion, representing growth of 108% and 34%, respectively, year over year. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.