Intel Back as Top-Performing Dow Stock for 2018

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Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) has returned as the top-performing stock among the Dow Jones industrials last week. The chipmaking giant last held the spot at the end of March and was the Dow’s top performer for the first quarter of 2018. Shares added nearly 4.3% in what was a down week for the index itself. For the year to date, Intel shares have gained 23.7%.

The second-best performer among the Dow 30 so far this year is Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), which is up 21%. That is followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), up 17.8%, Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), up 16.3%, and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up about 14.8%. Only 11 Dow stocks have managed to post a gain for 2018 to date.

The Dow dropped almost 118 points over the course of the last week to close at 24,635.21, down about 0.5%. For the year to date, the tech sector has added 12.8%, the best among the 10 market sectors.

Intel stock jumped 3.4% on Friday to close at a new 52-week high, but it is still about 24% below the stock’s all-time high posted in 1999.

Combing through last week’s news, it’s tough to find discrete events or news that could have given the stock such a boost. In fact, perhaps the biggest story of last week revealed that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating claims that the company may have targeted older workers three years ago when it began layoffs that eventually topped 10,000 worldwide. Intel has denied the allegation, and the EEOC won’t even say whether it is conducting an investigation.

Intel’s chip business is booming, even though PC sales are stagnant and competitors are attacking the company’s server business. The company has made a couple of acquisitions that give it a toehold in the artificial intelligence and machine learning sectors, both of which are touted for substantial growth in the mid-term to long term.

Intel’s shares closed up about 3.4% Friday, at $57.08 in a 52-week range of $33.23 to $57.10. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $60.34, and the forward price-to-earnings ratio is 14.09.