Chipmaking giant Intel (INTC) has had a rough go lately. Intel stock has fallen hard after its last three quarterly earnings reports. However, with new leadership at the helm, some investors may be wondering: Is INTC stock a buy right now?
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company ruled the personal computer era thanks to its close partnership with Windows software maker Microsoft (MSFT) in what was called the Wintel alliance. But the growth of smartphones and other computing devices diminished its influence.
Intel was the world’s No. 1 semiconductor vendor by revenue in 2020, research firm Gartner said.
Intel had 15.6% market share last year, compared with 12.5% for No. 2 vendor Samsung. Intel’s chip revenue rose 3.7% year over year to $70.2 billion as the market for central processing units for PCs and servers was robust.
Intel Stock Fundamental Analysis
On Jan. 21, Intel handily beat Wall Street’s targets for the fourth quarter and guided higher for the current period. But Intel stock fell after incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger threw cold water on speculation that Intel would outsource leading-edge chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) or perhaps even divest its chipmaking operations and go fabless.
INTC stock dropped 9.3% on the day after the earnings report.
In the December quarter, Intel earned an adjusted $1.52 a share, unchanged from a year earlier, on sales of $20 billion, down 1%. Analysts expected Intel earnings of $1.10 a share on sales of $17.49 billion.
It was the third straight quarter of disappointing earnings reports for Intel.
On Oct. 22, Intel narrowly beat Wall Street’s overall targets for the third quarter, but its data-center chip sales disappointed. Intel stock tumbled 10.6% on the first trading day after the report.
Intel plans to report its first-quarter results on April 22. That event could be the next catalyst for INTC stock.
INTC Stock Tanks On Chip Delay
Investors sold off Intel stock last summer after the company disclosed the delay in production of 7-nanometer scale processors. Its shares declined 21% in the week after the news.
The delay puts Intel further behind chip foundry Taiwan Semiconductor, which is already mass producing chips at 5-nanometer scale. Intel’s current state-of-the-art chips are at 10-nanometer scale. Circuit widths on chips are measured in nanometers, which are one-billionth of a meter. Smaller circuits translate to faster, more power-efficient processors.
Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been leveraging Taiwan Semiconductor’s advanced process nodes to take market share in processors for PCs and servers.
On March 23, Intel said the company is making good progress with development of its 7-nanometer chips. It also announced plans to spend $20 billion to build two new semiconductor fabs in Arizona. Plus, it outlined an plan to become a major provider of foundry capacity in the U.S. and Europe to serve customers globally.
Apple, Microsoft Moves Rattle Intel Stock
On June 22, Intel suffered a blow to its reputation when customer Apple (AAPL) revealed that it is moving to its own chips for Mac computers. The switch from Intel chips to Apple silicon will take about two years to complete. Taiwan Semiconductor will make the chips from Apple’s designs.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley estimates that Intel was getting 5.8% of its total revenue from supplying microprocessors to Apple.
On Nov. 10, Apple unveiled its first Mac computers using homegrown processors. Apple claims its M1 chip delivers up to 3.5-times faster central processing unit performance than Intel-based Macs. It said its M1 chip also has much faster graphics performance and better power efficiency.
Intel stock suffered another blow on Dec. 18 when Bloomberg reported that Microsoft is designing its own chips for data-center servers as well as its Surface PCs. INTC stock fell 6.3% on the day the news broke.
Intel Brings In New Chief Executive
On Jan. 13, Intel announced that it was replacing fiscally minded Chief Executive Bob Swan with a technology-focused leader in then-VMware (VMW) CEO Pat Gelsinger. Gelsinger, who previously served as Intel’s chief technology officer, took over on Feb. 15. Swan had been Intel’s chief financial officer before he assumed the top position 2-1/2 years earlier.
On a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth-quarter results, Gelsinger vowed to stay the course and focus on improving Intel’s chip-manufacturing operations.
He expressed confidence that Intel is making progress in resolving issues with its 7-nanometer process technology. He doubled down on the company’s commitment to in-house manufacturing but said Intel will use outside fabs for some chip production.
“Clearly, we’re not interested in just closing gaps. We’re interested in resuming that position of the unquestioned leader in process technology,” Gelsinger said.
INTC Stock Technical Analysis
Intel stock hit a 19-year high of 69.29 in January 2020 ahead of the coronavirus stock market correction. INTC stock notched its all-time high of 75.81 way back in August 2000 around the time of the dot-com bust.
On March 16, Intel stock touched a buy point of 65.21 out of a loose, year-long double-bottom base, according to IBD MarketSmith daily charts. Since then, it has seesawed in and out of the 5% chase zone of its attempted breakout.
On a weekly chart, Intel stock cleared a cup-with-handle base at a buy point of 63.64 on March 10. It ended the regular session April 1 at 64.55.
But INTC stock has a poor track record of late for sustaining gains after stock breakouts.
Intel stock has a subpar IBD Relative Strength Rating of 44. The best growth stocks typically have RS Ratings of at least 80. The Relative Strength rating shows how a stock’s price performance stacks up against all other stocks over the last 52 weeks.
Is Intel Stock A Buy Right Now?
INTC stock ranks No. 18 out of 33 stocks in IBD’s Electronics-Semiconductor Manufacturing industry group, according to the IBD Stock Checkup. That means there are much better stocks to investigate in the group.
The chip manufacturing group ranks No. 71 out of 197 industry groups that IBD tracks. Choosing highly rated stocks from leading industry groups in a confirmed stock market uptrend generally increases your chances of making profits in growth stocks.
Intel stock has a so-so IBD Composite Rating of 70 out of 99. IBD’s Composite Rating combines five separate proprietary ratings into one easy-to-use rating. The best growth stocks have a Composite Rating of 90 or better.
Follow Patrick Seitz on Twitter at @IBD_PSeitz for more stories on consumer technology, software and semiconductor stocks.
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