How Analysts View Intel Now After Earnings and Beyond 2016

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) now has something in common with oil — both traded under $30.00 on Friday. The actual Intel earnings report was good on the surface. Beating earnings and revenues and guiding for growth sounded good, but the investing community is growing more concerned over the data center group revenues ahead. Then there is the ongoing pesky PC declining units that keep persisting.

With shares having been down about 10% to as low as $29.50 on Friday, 24/7 Wall St. wanted to see how the analyst community really views Intel in 2016 and beyond.

Before we get on to the analyst calls individually, Intel has its place in the market that needs to be considered. When we calculated a downside for the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 15,076 this past week, the reality is that this negative reading was in part driven by the most bearish analyst price target of $27.00 for Intel.

Another consideration is that Intel was already among the worst Dow stocks so far in 2016 ahead of earnings. At $29.75 after the earnings report, Intel shares were down a whopping 13.6% from the 2015 year-end close of $34.45.

It turns out that the analysts who were positive on Intel mostly stayed positive on Intel’s formal ratings.

Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating on Intel. The firm sees its gross margin thesis playing out. Both the fourth-quarter and the 2016 outlook saw upside in gross margins being driven by a longer depreciation schedule and a longer manufacturing cadence with higher average selling prices. Jefferies has a $39.00 target price, and its report said:

Our bottom-up gross margin model implies 67% exiting 2017, which we still view as conservative. In 2016 we think Intel continues to benefit from secular trends in Cloud computing, and we expect it to gain share in Networking via SDN/NFV.

Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating and kept a $40 price target. Still, the firm’s earnings review was not as clean as hoped, but also not a concern. After beating and guiding in line, but under some of the more bullish estimates, the Credit Suisse report said:

We are maintaining our CY16 EPS of $2.50 but Street at $2.35 is likely to move higher, which relative to peers in coming weeks is likely to be a positive stand-out. While it is difficult to penalize management for building moats and expanding into growth business, investors will need to see operating leverage in C2H16/CY17 in order for the stock to move above $40.

Wells Fargo maintained its Outperform rating for Intel and has a valuation range of $40.00 to $50.00. The firm showed Intel beating revenue and gross margin guidance, but said that full year 2016 guidance was confused by the Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR) operations and by acquisition charges and an extra week in the March 2016 quarter. Wells Fargo still sees organic growth and introduced 2017 estimates of $65 billion in revenue and earnings per share (EPS) of $2.70. The Wells Fargo report said:

Intel remains our Top Pick. … DCG sales increased 4.1% sequentially and increased 5.3% year over year. DCG platform ASP decreased 1% sequentially and year over year. DCG units increased 4% sequentially and increased 5% year over year. … Desktop processor units decreased 9% year over year and notebook units decreased 10% year over year. … Our valuation range is based on an approximate multiple of 15 to 18.5 times our FY2016 EPS estimate of $2.17.

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