These days, the U.S. political culture seems almost as volatile as the U.S. stock market -- drifting left before jerking abruptly right, and now it looks like may be veering to the left again. And whatever your political persausion, the view from this vantage point says It's all good -- just remember to respect your neighbor -- and your's truly thanks his lucky stars he evaluates stocks...and not political party performance. Further, the political system may move left or right, but there's one thing you can count on -- some companies will do well, regardless of the state of things in Washington, and microprocessor giant Intel Corporation (INTC) is one.
Sprint (S), as speculated, secured the rights to the iPhone 4s earlier this month, and to say the move became a game changer in tech and media sectors circles would be an understatement. The buzz about the iPhone 4s has been the most since perhaps Microsoft's (MSFT) hey-day and its much-anticipated launches of new operating systems.
With the above as a backdrop, a compelling question for investors is: will Intel (INTC), like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), benefit from a ripple-effect from the iPhone 4s Wave? That apparently will be the case, and it goes without saying that Intel's stock, first reviewed here at the International Business Times on September 30, 2011 at a price of $21.34 is worthly of a puchase, if you can tolerate moderate risk, and I'm Reiterating my Buy call.
Will INTC Benefit from iPhone 4s Wave?
What's more, if the iPhone 4s can come close to matching its hype, it has the potential to spark an iPhone 4s Wave, if you will, in the cell phone service provider and tech sectors -- in other words, a renaissance -- one that attracts new minds (translation: subscribers) that previously had not considered the iPhone 4s or even a smartphone, and/or other tech devices.
And that's good news, not only for iPhone 4s newbie Sprint, but also for semicondutotor maker Intel -- the world largest's manufacturer of the digital processors that go into just about every gadget, device, and appliance these days. INTC's shares closed Friday up 11 cents to $23.50.
Intel remains well-positioned to benefit from an increase in corporate and residential information technology spending, with aging computers, Microsoft Windows 7, and bandwidth-consuming applications for PCs providing a tailwind for microprocessor demand. Laptop-related sales should also impress.
Intel: Semiconductor Star
What's more, Intel's new 32-nanometer and 22-nanometer chips, should once again outperform the field, regarding an improved chip to meet the multi-media, multi-thread, simultaneous-application demands of today's office environment.
A strong balance sheet, a superior distribution network, a pervasive global presence, and one of the most respected brands in the world, add to INTC's positive story. Intel remains the strongest company in the microprocessor sector.
There is some concern that Intel has been slow to capture market share in the portable sector, but for now desktop PC and server demand will more than suffice
A decent annual dividend of 84 cents -- good for a 3.57% dividend at the roughly $23.50 share price -- provides an exclamation point: an opportunity for decent growth, with a dividend. That's about as good as one can get in today's challenging investment environment.
Look for Intel's 2011 revenue to surge 25 percent to about $53.6 billion, followed by a 5-6 percent gain to $56.8 billion in 2011.
Margins also will likely remain at about 62 percent in 2012: all those iPhone 4s Wave customers will spark an increased demand for INTC chip-laden products -- allowing the company to maintain existing prices in most categories. Also, employee expenses will show a modest rise.
Further, with a P/E of 11, Intel is cheap, assuming the U.S. economic expansion does not prematurely end in 2012.
The Thomson Reuters First Call FY2011/FY2012 EPS estimates for INTC are $2.35 and $2.43. Each EPS estimate looks about 10 percent low, according to my analysis.
Technical Stats: Technically, Intel's share have been on a roller-coaster in 2011. After plunging to $19 in April, shares bolted north to test $24, only to slide, in volatile fashion, back down to $19 during the summer, as the U.S. economy slowed. INTC has hardly been a short-king's dream, with short runs interrupted by better than 50 percent corrections north. With the aforementioned as a backdrop, the argument forwarded here is that INTC will now vector to about $26 by the end of 2011, and to at least $32-33 by the end of 2012; a $35 price by the end of 2012 is not out of the question.
What's more, Intel twice tested $19 support but failed to drop below, and that represents good support. When a stock falls through key psychological support at $20 twice, only to drop a little more, then hold, the stock pattern is telling you something: institiutional investors are scooping up what they consider to be a bargain -- they're saying Intel will drop no more, that's the stock's minimum value, based on its fundamentals. Further, price action through early autumn confirmed $19 support, and the stock has pushed back above $23 in mid-October.
Stock Category: Intel is ideal for investors who want a growth stock with plenty of upside potential. However, investors need to in mind that INTC is a moderate-risk stock not suitable for low-risk investors. Also, there's a 10 percent chance you'll lose your entire investment with INTC over a 10-year period.
2011 Outlook: I view Intel as a long-term play, but if you're looking to sell INTC within the year, it's probably best to take your profits after it rises to $27-29, if it fails to rise above $30.
Stock Analysis: Intel is a moderate-risk stock. If an investor has already purchased the company's shares, I'd hold them. If not, I'd consider buying a 50 percent position in INTC now and another 25 percent in two months, if the U.S. economy does not worsen substantially. Under any circumstance, I wouldn't buy more than 75 percent of my INTC position before January 2012, and I'd put a sell/stop loss at: $12.50.
Disclosure: L.C. Jacobs of New York, N.Y. reviews stocks on a quarterly, semi-annual, and annual basis.
L.C. Jacobs has no positions in stocks reviewed, but does own federal, municipal, and corporate bonds.