We've already seen the impact that the coronavirus has had on many companies out there, and anyone who helps promote the work-from-home movement is getting a particular lift. The effect has been seen out at Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), but nowhere near as pronounced as investors liked to hope. There were signs of the company getting its pre-COVID-19 share price back, but those were hit hard in late July. New signs of recovery are afoot, though, and this may be a buy-the-dip opportunity that's been in place for a surprisingly long time.
The hit that Intel took when its second-quarter earnings report emerged was pronounced by any definition of the term. Watching the company go from $60.40 on July 23 clear down to $47.99 on July 30 had to hurt investors. The company's share price has been largely flat since then, taking until the last days of August to clear $50 again.
While the sales numbers were positive, and the revenue on an upward trend, investors took a punch in the gut when Intel revealed a significant delay in the ultimate release date on its new 7-nanometer processors, with the first shipments pushed as far back as “early 2023,” though possibly a bit earlier. That's bad news, especially given that it's currently 2020.
Bright Spots Emerge
Intel's share price has been hovering in that rather narrow range between $47 and $50 for the last couple of months now, forming a surprising plateau that's sadly off the highs, but also off the lows. It's almost kind of bizarre how this has happened, especially considering the skein of good news that's appeared out of Intel in the last few days.
One of the brightest spots for the company came only recently, as our own research found that Standpoint Research upgraded its rating on Intel stock from “hold” to “buy,” joining a growing chorus of analysts suggesting that it's a fine time to pick up Intel again. It's not as good as it once was—like just three months ago—but gains are gains, no matter how you slice them. Now, at 10 “sell” ratings, 17 “hold” ratings, and 16 “buy” ratings with no “strong-buy” ratings, Intel is that much better off.
Sure, it's not exactly a pretty picture from 90 days ago, when the company had just five “sell” ratings and 20 “buy” ratings, but still, improvement is improvement. Add this on to the recent news of plans to step up its share buyback plan and it looks like the kind of thing that should give the stock a leg up going forward.
The Future at Intel Improves
There are also bits of good news coming out around Intel product lines as well. Some of the news isn't exactly great, like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) planning to move away from Intel in favor of its own chips and AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) working hard to make a new CPU that could do very unpleasant things to Comet Lake's current dominance.
However, there's also early word to note that the Jasper Lake processors have been spotted in the wild—unconfirmed as of yet—and that would give the company access to newer markets. Additionally, Intel has also been seen branching out a bit, putting together the new “OpenBot,” a 3D-printed smart robot that can be made for under $50, designed to open up the field of robotics.
An Opportunity With Questions Attached
\So where do we end up with all this information? Granted, things don't look perfect for Intel right now. Its biggest new processor has been hit by the COVID delay that has hit a lot of things lately, like virtually all of the movie industry. Meanwhile, its competitors are taking advantage of the delay to advance their own capabilities, making them more viable than ever.
But Intel isn't just sitting around and waiting to get overtaken. It's been working on new projects, and getting itself a little more diversified from the company that just makes chips. Add this on to the assertion that Intel's stock price has been pretty much flat for most of August and that suggests a nice, clear runway to head back up again. The Comet Lake delay is a setback, and a serious one. With Intel proving that it's more than just processors, though, this new diversification may make it worth a second look.
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