Should Intelís Investors Be Worried About Demand for Data Center Chips and Plummeting Tablet Sales?

Witawat (Ed) Wijaranakula, Ph.D.
Fri Oct 16, 2015

Intel [NASDAQ:INTC] shares swung between gains and losses on Wednesday to close at $32.80 a share, after the company announced third quarter, ended September 30, total revenues of $14.47 billion, approximately flat compared to $14.55 billion from the same quarter last year, and non-GAAP earnings of $0.64 per diluted share, down 3% from $0.66 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2014. Analystsí expectations were $0.59 per share on revenues of $14.22 billion. 

Client Computing Group (CCG) revenue was $8.51 billion, down 7.45% year-over-year and Data Center Group (DCG) revenue was $4.14 billion, up 11.89% year-over-year. Internet of Things (IoT) Group revenue was $581 million, up 9.62% year-over-year, while the Software and Services operating segment revenue was $556 million, flat year-over-year.

Looking forward, Intel sees revenue of $14.8 billion, plus or minus $500 million, in the fourth-quarter ending in December 2015. In its second quarter 2015 earnings report, the company said revenue outlook for the full year 2015 would be down approximately 1%, year-on-year. Intel cut its 2015 capex forecast again, to $7.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. In its first quarter 2015 earnings report, Intel cut its full-year capex forecast to $8.7 billion, from $10 billion. 

The bottom line is that the Client Computing Group (CCG) continues to perform poorly, as the PC sales slump persists. The year-over-year declines in notebook and desktop platform volumes in the third quarter 2015 were 14% and 15%, respectively. The tablet platform volumes plunged to 8 million units, down 39% from the same quarter last year. Some analysts had hoped that the key to the company's turnaround could be the continued migration from desktops to tablets. Intel, however, said that customers are excited about their 6th generation Skylake core processors and that Microsoft's Windows 10 will boost revenue for its Client Computing Group in the second half of 2015.

The Data Center Group (DCG)ís business seems to be decelerating as its growth rate, on a year-over-year basis, decelerated to 11.89% in the third quarter, from 16.43% growth seen in the third quarter 2014. Both unit volume and average selling prices of microprocessors, chipsets, SoC and multichip packages, were up just 6% in the third quarter, on a year-on-year basis. In its second quarter earnings report, Intel said the group grew just 10%, on a year-on-year basis.

Intel said that corporations, especially in China, are scaling back on server purchases as they outsource more of their technology needs and delay updating their in-house equipment. In their second quarter 2015 earnings report, Intel warned investors that enterprise buying had cooled and they did not expect a large recovery for enterprises through the remainder of this year.

The Internet of Things Group revenue showed double-digit growth of about 10% in the quarter, compared to 4% in the second quarter, on a year-on-year basis. Intel said the Internet of Things and their non-volatile memory businesses offset lower client revenue. The revenues from Intelís ďall otherĒ category, which includes non-volatile memory and new device businesses, was $682 million, up 18.61% year-on-year. The Software and Services operating segment continues to be flat. 

From our long-term technical viewpoint, INTC is highly technical-traded and has been in an ascending broadening (ASC/B) wedge triangle chart pattern since early 2013. Between July 2014 and July 2015, the stock traded in the range between $29.10 and $37.05 a share, as investors were skeptical about Intelís future growth strategies. A head and shoulders chart pattern emerged as investors were extremely bearish on Intelís PC and software business outlooks and took the stock down to test $24.98 a share, or the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level, in late August 2015. 

INTC has since bounced, up over 30% from the August low, and a descending broadening wedge (DES/B) chart pattern has emerged. The stock is trading near $32.71 a share, or the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level, and the upper trendline resistance of the descending wedge. The stock could pull back as concerns rise about the plummeting tablet business and a slowdown in demand for data center chips.

According to Yahoo Finance, the stock has a one-year price target of $34.61 a share. Intel will release its fourth quarter 2015 earnings report in January 2016. Wall Street is expecting revenues of $14.79 billion, up 0.5% year-on-year, and an EPS of $0.63 per share, down 14.9% year-on-year.

Disclosure: No Position in INTC.

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