Intel Boosts Investors Spirits with Dividend Hike, Solid 2018 Outlook

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Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results after markets closed Thursday. The semiconductor maker reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.08 on revenue of $17.1 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.79 on revenue of $16.37 billion. Fourth-quarter results compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.87 and $16.34 billion in revenue.

For the full year Intel reported EPS of $1.99 and revenues of $62.8 billion compared with EPS of $2.72 and revenues of$59.49 in 2016. Analysts had estimated EPS of $3.25 and revenues of $62.05.

Adjusted earnings do not include a one time charge of $5.4 on repatriation of foreign earnings kept offshore. The good news is that Intel’s 2018 tax rate is forecast at 14%.

The big story for Intel came after the first of the year when it revealed a hardware flaw in every processor the company has made for the past couple of decades. The fallout has so far been minimal to the share price, but that could change quickly.

Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, said:

2017 was a record year for Intel with record fourth-quarter results driven by strong growth of our data-centric businesses. The strategic investments we’ve made in areas like memory, programmable solutions, communications and autonomous driving are starting to pay off and expand Intel’s growth opportunity. In 2018, our highest priorities will be executing to our data-centric strategy and meeting the commitments we make to our shareholders and our customers.

Intel boosted its annual dividend by 10% to $1.20 per share with the first payment going to shareholders in March.

In its guidance for the first quarter, the world’s largest chipmaker forecast revenue of $15 billion (+/- $500 million) and non-GAAP operating margins of 27%. EPS is forecast at $0.70. The consensus estimates had called for revenues totaling $15.03 billion and EPS of $0.72.

For the full fiscal year, Intel guided revenue to $65 billion +/- $1 billion compared with fiscal 2017 revenue of $62.08 billion. The consensus estimate had been $62.05 billion. Full year operating margins are forecast at 30% and full-year adjusted EPS is forecast at $3.55. The consensus estimate calls for EPS of $3.27.

Intel’s shares traded up more than 4.6% in after-hours trading, at $47.40 in a 52-week range of $33.23 to 47.64. The 12-month consensus price target was $47.14 before today’s results were announced.