Buy Intel Ahead of 10-Nanometer Production Ramp, Writes Bull
In a note to clients on Monday, analysts at Nomura Instinet upgraded shares of Santa Clara, Calif-based chip maker Intel to buy from neutral, suggesting that the company may be the only one out of its industry group to remain shielded from a larger sector downturn. Nomura's Romit Shah expects Intel to be the sole chip stock to raise estimates in October and November. He sees a supply constraint to last until the ramp-up in production of Intel's next-generation 10-nanometer chip, expected by the second quarter of 2019.
Intel has been slammed on the Street in light of a series of production delays for the 10-nanometer processing technology, which will allow for faster, more efficient chips. Bears have warned on new competition from players like Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), slated to release its quicker 7-nanometer chip sometime in 2019.
"Every U.S. and foreign-based equipment supplier we've spoken with recently is seeing 10nm volumes become more meaningful," wrote Shah. The bull is also optimistic on interim CEO Bob Swan's focus on Intel's Xeon and Core processing businesses, which "serve the high-performance segments" and could help boost earnings and gross margins above the Street's currently conservative forecasts through the next two quarters.
Nomura's note comes alongside a handful of downbeat reports on the chip industry at large, including a report from Goldman Sachs last week in which analysts cited deteriorating fundamentals in Q4 and into 2019.
Shah's 12-month price forecast at $50 for Intel stock implies a 12.8% upside from Monday morning. Trading up 0.7% at $44.31, Intel shares reflect an approximate 4% loss year-to-date (YTD) compared the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF's (SOXX) 1.4% decline and the S&P 500's 3.5% gain over the same period.