Intel Reclaims Spot as Top-Performing Dow Stock in 2018

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Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) stock rode a wave of investor keenness for technology shares last week, posting a weekly share price gain of 6.3% to return to its ranking as the top-performing Dow Jones industrial average stock of the year to date. The chipmaker’s shares are up 12.4% so far in 2018.

The second-best performer among the Dow 30 so far this year is Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), which is up about 12.3%. That is followed by Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), up 11.7%, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). up 8.8%, and Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), up 7.5%. Of the 30 stocks comprising the Dow index, just 14 have posted year-to-date gains as of Friday’s close.

The Dow added 427.38 points last week and ended at 24,360.14, up nearly 1.8% for the short week. The tech sector as a whole is up nearly 30% over the past 12 months.

Two tech industry analysts firms, IDC and Gartner, released first-quarter personal computer (PC) sales data last week. IDC reported shipments of 60.4 million units, flat with shipments in the first quarter of 2017. Gartner reported shipments of 61.7 million units, down 1.4% year over year. The difference is due, at least in part, to what each firm counts as a PC.

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa attributed the overall drop to a 5.7% decline in shipments to China, where some state-owned and large enterprises postponed new purchases and upgrades following the early March meeting of the National People’s Congress. New policies will be promulgated and changes in top officials will need to be made before these big firms pull the trigger on purchases.

IDC senior research analyst Neha Mahajan noted that optimism has returned to the U.S. PC market, especially for notebook computers. A better economy is expected to strengthen demand further driven by fast-growing retail sales of gaming machines.

Intel’s shares closed down about 1.6% Friday, at $51.86 in a 52-week range of $33.23 to $53.78. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $54.03. The low end of the price target range is $38 and the high end is $70.