Shares of US chipmakers fell on Wednesday following a report that the Biden administration was planning new curbs on export of computing chips for artificial intelligence to China as early as July.
Companies such as Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, which rely on the world’s second largest economy for at least a fifth of their revenue, fell between 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent, caught in the US-China crossfire.
The Philadelphia chip index dropped 0.9 percent.
Last year, US officials had ordered Nvidia to stop exporting its top two AI chips to China to limit the country’s technological capability.
Months later, Nvidia launched a new advanced chip called A800 in China to meet export control rules.
The new restrictions being considered by the Commerce Department would also include a ban on the sale of Nvidia’s A800 chip without a special US export license, the Wall Street Journal report said.
Curbs on sales of datacenter graphics processing units to China would impact future financial results, Nvidia’s finance chief Colette Kress said on Wednesday. However, the company does not expect the additional restrictions to have an immediate material impact on its results.
“With an update on export controls now expected, investors will assess just how limiting the new rules will be for chip makers’ sales,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown.
“A handful of tech companies pack a huge punch on Wall Street due to their sheer size, so any wobble in confidence reverberates on indices.”
Rising expectations over the advancements in AI have helped Wall Street climb this year, with Nvidia at the pole position on the S&P 500 index, gaining 187 percent so far this year.
But the sharp rise in shares has also sparked doubts over lofty valuations.
Nvidia is trading at 47 times its expected 12-months earnings, while AMD is at a 31.2 multiple and Intel at 31.8, way above the S&P 500’s multiple at 19, according to Refinitiv data.
The Philadelphia chip index has surged more than 44 percent so far this year, far ahead of the benchmark index’s 14 percent rise.
Across the Atlantic, Nordic Semiconductor, Dutch chipmaker ASML, Milan-listed STMicroelectronics, however, closed between 2.3 percent and 6.4 percent higher.
© Thomson Reuters 2023