The old tech company stocks have rallied recently, even more than those of Web 2.0 firms. Part of it might be due to a rush up in the Nasdaq. However, there is another reason that shares in public corporations like Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) have risen. Old tech companies have reinvented themselves enough to nearly be new. And their old products are in vogue again.
Among the stocks that have rallied the most is Intel, which has dominated the market in PC chips for decades. Its position was so dominant half a decade ago that it had to pay Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), its tiny rival, $1.25 billion to settle antitrust charges. AMD has faltered since then. For the most part Intel has thrived. Its shares traded at $34 last week, near a 52-week high of $35.56. As a matter of fact, the stock is very near a 10-year high.
Wall Street does not need to look beyond Intel’s most recent quarter to find several core reasons for its success. In the period, Intel had, according to its earnings release:
Record quarterly unit shipments of PCs, servers, tablets, phones and Internet of Things, the first time Intel has shipped more than 100 million microprocessors in a quarter
The products near the end of the statement — tablets and phones — were areas that investors thought Intel entered too late. That theory included the notion that Intel could never catch up in the hardware products that power new devices.
Intel also had a number of quarters in which its growth slowed, because of faltered global PC sales, as well as a lack of products for these other devices. The most recent quarter presented proof that had changed:
Third-Quarter revenue of $14.6 billion, up $1.1 billion or 8 percent year-over-year
Operating income of $4.5 billion, up 30 percent year-over-year
Not all of Intel’s success was from new devices. As a matter of fact, it was some of Intel’s oldest operations that did the best. Revenue in its PC Client Group rose from $8.4 billion in the quarter that ended last year to $9.2 billion in the most recent quarter. Operating income for the division rose from $3.2 billion to $4.1 billion. The margin is extraordinary.
While Intel has made advances by its presence in new business like the Internet of Things, much of its success is because of products that were ancient are new again.