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Nasdaq Hits New Record on NVIDIA, Tesla Upgrades

By Dan Caplinger – Aug 17, 2020 at 4:58PM

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The S&P 500 came close to an all-time high as well.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) regained its leadership role in the stock market, leading bullish investors upward to set a record high. Even with plenty of lingering doubts about the COVID-19 pandemic and its longer-term impact on the U.S. economy, market participants haven't been willing to let harsh reality get in the way of their hopes and dreams. The Composite rose 1% to top its previous record by about 20 points, while the Nasdaq-100 had a slightly larger boost on a percentage basis.

Two big stocks led the Nasdaq higher. NVIDIA (NVDA 3.07%) has gained notoriety in the semiconductor space, and its graphic chip products in particular have gotten a loyal following. Meanwhile, Tesla (TSLA -8.62%) continued to rise as investors prepare for its 5-for-1 stock split at the end of the month. In both cases, favorable comments from Wall Street professionals gave the shares a boost.

A pretty picture from NVIDIA

NVIDIA shares climbed 7% on Monday, easily surpassing their former record high. The graphics chip maker got the seal of approval from not one but two different analyst companies.

Chip attached to motherboard.

Image source: Getty Images.

The two views in question came from Susquehanna and Oppenheimer. For Susquehanna, an increase of $90 per share for the price target to $540 reflected analysts' belief that the new release of cutting-edge graphics processing units for video game fans will get a lot of traction. That could help NVIDIA stave off any competition on the data center front, especially with rival Advanced Micro Devices making its play in the sector. Oppenheimer made a $100 boost to its target price to $500 per share, using much the same theory that any sluggishness in data centers should get offset by video gaming strength.

The pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digitalization throughout the economy, and that's created near-term tailwinds for NVIDIA and its peers. Less certain is whether the impact will be lasting and sustainable, but at least today, bulls remained completely in command.

Tesla floors it

Meanwhile, shares of Tesla hit new records of their own, climbing 11%. The electric automaker has already gotten plenty of attention, but analysts weighed in today and further fueled the momentum.

Specifically, analysts at Wedbush boosted their view on the stock, giving their price target a $100 increase to $1,900 per share. Wedbush's focus was on China, where it appears that Tesla is benefiting from its new Shanghai-based production facility. Moreover, it looks like pent-up demand for Tesla vehicles could actually help the company meet its full-year 500,000 vehicle delivery target, even though numbers from the first half of the year were behind that pace.

Interestingly, Tesla also got some less-than-perfect news from China. July registrations of vehicles built in China slumped to 11,456, down from 14,976 in June. By contrast, competitor NIO saw a big increase in registered vehicles.

Nevertheless, Tesla has many catalysts for further gains, including the completion of the stock split and the anticipated addition of the stock to the S&P 500. That's largely what analysts are looking at as they continually boost their price targets.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends NVIDIA and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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