Mixed Outlook Ahead of Intel Report

Dow component Intel Corp. (INTC) reports Q1 2021 earnings after Thursday’s closing bell, with analysts looking for a profit of $1.14 per-share on $17.97 billion in revenue. If met, earnings-per-share (EPS) will mark a 21% profit decline compared to the same quarter last year.  The stock gave back a 6.5% advance after beating Q4 2020 top and bottom line estimates in January but performed well into early April, posting a 15 month high.

Investing in Local Fabrication

Investors have forgiven the chip giant after 2020 missteps forced loyal customers to cut deals with competitors Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and NVIDIA Inc. (NVDA). NVIDIA, in particular, is rolling out highly-competitive products at a lightning pace, ready to build even greater market share in coming years. Intel has shifted gears to meet the challenge, investing billions to become a major foundry supplier. That effort could pay off, given worldwide chip shortages this year.

Needham analyst Pat Gelsinger posted upbeat comments about the initiative in March, noting “With most of the world’s leading edge foundry capacity now concentrated in Asia, Intel also launched Intel Foundry Services (IFS) to address the industry’s capacity constraints and need for more geographically balanced manufacturing capacity, with manufacturing locations in the U.S. and Europe. Intel also announced it will be spending $20 billion to build two new fabs in Arizona, which will support its current products as well as its foundry customers.”

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street sentiment remains mixed despite share gains, with a consensus ‘Hold’ rating based upon 15 ‘Buy’, 1 ‘Overweight’, 15 ‘Hold’, and 2 ‘Underweight’ recommendations. More importantly, 8 analysts still recommend that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of $40 to a Street-high $90 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session about $6 below the median $70 target. This low placement could support rapid upside in reaction to a strong report.

Intel topped out in the upper 50s in 2018 and eased into a complex pattern, ahead of a 2020 rally and failed breakout during the pandemic decline. Steep declines have posted four lows in the mid-40s in the last three years, draining bullish sentiment and shareholder patience. The stock rallied within a point of 2020’s multiyear high this month but accumulation-distribution has failed to recover, setting off a bearish divergence that raises odds for another steep downturn.

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Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.