U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs 13 mins
  • S&P Futures

    3,794.00
    +3.50 (+0.09%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    30,809.00
    -19.00 (-0.06%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    13,031.00
    +45.50 (+0.35%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,140.00
    -7.30 (-0.34%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    53.35
    +0.37 (+0.70%)
     
  • Gold

    1,849.70
    +9.50 (+0.52%)
     
  • Silver

    25.51
    +0.19 (+0.77%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.2148
    +0.0015 (+0.1215%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.0920
    -0.0050 (-0.46%)
     
  • Vix

    23.24
    -1.10 (-4.52%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3657
    +0.0023 (+0.1707%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    103.7450
    -0.1470 (-0.1415%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    35,289.38
    -604.88 (-1.69%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    700.62
    +0.01 (+0.00%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,712.95
    -7.70 (-0.11%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,485.77
    -147.73 (-0.52%)
     

A New Hope For Intel

Daniel Laboe
·5 min read

Intel (INTC) has finally said enough is enough after a strongly worded letter by Third Point hedge fund CEO Daniel Loeb in December that urged the company to make systemic changes in the interest of the US technology sector.

Intel's Chairman Omar Ishrak is replacing their seemingly unadaptable CEO, Bob Swan. After years of falling behind the innovative curve, the company is finally deciding to make organizational changes, and investors like what they are seeing. The stock was up over 7% in the knee-jerk market reaction on Wednesday (1/13) and continued higher on Thursday (1/14).

VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger will be taking the helm of the legacy semiconductor business on February 15th. The markets are enthusiastic about an adaptable CEO who has proven himself as a successful tech leader, with a "distinguished track record of innovation, talent development, and a deep knowledge of Intel", according to Omar Ishrak.

Gelsinger has 40 years of tech experience, including 3 decades at Intel, where he became the company's first chief technology officer.

Along with the change at Intel's helm, the company announced it had "made strong progress on its 7nm process technology and will provide an update on its January 21st earnings call." 

Recent Disappointment 

Intel has disappointed me in recent years, with supply chain issues and production delays that have pushed the chip king out of step with the innovative curve. The previously viewed "value" CPU player, AMD (AMD), is now taking market share in the space that Intel has been building for decades.

Leading semiconductor fabricator TSMC (TSM) has seen a massive boost in recent quarters as its cutting-edge third-party manufacturing services appear to be unmatched. The biggest and baddest chip innovators like Nvidia (NVDA), Broadcom (AVGO), Qualcomm (QCOM), and even Apple (AAPL) all utilize TSMC's best-in-class manufacturing, and Intel has been forced to do the same.

This chip pioneer saw its highest valuation near the end of the dot-com bubble. Its shares hit north of $75 a share ($538 billion market cap) and capitulating 83% of its value in the 2 years that followed.

Intel has been falling behind Moore's Law, which states that transistors' density in integrated circuits doubles roughly every 2 years. This has come to mean that digital chips become twice as efficient and halve in cost every 24 months in laymen's terms.

Co-founder of Intel, Gordan Moore, formulated this theory over a half-century ago, but his legacy enterprise has fallen behind the curve.

In 2020 Intel was dethroned as the largest US chipmaker by Nvidia. The company has continued to lose its market value as investors price in its increasingly apparent systemic obsolescence.

The stock was trading at 11x forward price to earnings before the recent announcement, substantially below the industry average, which sits above 24x.

Intel Corporation Price and Consensus

Intel Corporation Price and Consensus
Intel Corporation Price and Consensus

Intel Corporation price-consensus-chart | Intel Corporation Quote

What's Next For Intel?

Intel needs to make some significant systemic changes to get back to its innovation driving roots. Replacing the CEO was a good start, and the progress in its 7nm chip technology is a positive sign, but they are still far behind TSMC who is already manufacturing 5nm chips and working on 3nm transistors. In fact, TSMC's 5nm chips accounted for 20% of its 4th quarter revenue. TSMC was making 7nm chips 2.5 years ago, which means Intel will be 3 years behind on a generous timeline.

It wasn't hard for the markets to get excited about any piece of bullish news about INTC with the stock trading at a crazy low valuation, but does INTC have legs to keep going after an over 11% price boost? I'm not sure.

We will know more following Intel's fourth-quarter earnings release on February 21st. According to Zacks Consensus, analysts anticipate INTC to report an EPS of $1.10 on sales of $17.44 billion, illustrating double-digit declines from the same period last year on both metrics.

What you really want to focus on in this earnings release and the subsequent call is the systemic changes I discussed. Is Intel planning on selling off/spinning off any of its operations or acquire any strategic businesses? Is the enterprise going to utilize more third-party fabricators like TSMC to keep up with the competition, or is their in-house manufacturing going to catch up to the innovative curve?

These are going to be the real market movers for INTC moving forward.

Legal Marijuana: An Investor’s Dream

Imagine getting in early on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027.

Although marijuana stocks did better as the pandemic took hold than the market as a whole, they’ve been pushed down. This is exactly the right time to get in on selected strong companies at a fraction of their value before COVID struck. Zacks’ Special Report, Marijuana Moneymakers, reveals 10 exciting tickers for urgent consideration.

Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Intel Corporation (INTC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research