Intel is Leading the Dow Higher Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is rising in the face of mixed reports on the economy, up 83 points to 16,341 as of 1:30 p.m. EST. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) was up 17 points to 1,835.

There were four U.S. economic releases today.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

NFIB small-business index

December

93.9

92.5

Retail sales

December

0.2%

0.4%

Retail sales ex-autos

December

0.7%

0.1%

Import price index

December

0%

-0.9%

Business inventories

November

0.4%

0.8%

The one to pay attention is the retail sales report for last month. While at first it appears retail sales beat expectations, you have to look closer. Many economists worried about a weak holiday season for retail sales, especially as automobile sales were weak in December. As such, expectations were for a 0.1% drop in overall retail sales and just a 0.4% gain if automobile sales were excluded. Both measures at first glance beat expectations, with retail sales rising 0.2% and retail sales minus autos rising 0.7%.

However, October and November retail sales growth were revised downward. October growth was dropped from 0.6% to 0.5%, while November growth went from 0.7% to a revised 0.4%. So while retail sales grew in December, they grew from a lower than expected base.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) , up 3.75% to $26.45, after being upgraded from neutral to overweight by JPMorgan Chase. The bank believes the PC market is stronger than the market expects; accordingly, it raised its price target on Intel from $20 to $29.

Analyst Christopher Danely wrote:

We are raising our rating on Intel from Neutral to Overweight due to two factors: we believe the PC market will remain relatively stable in 2014, and we believe Intel's new CEO will continue to provide realistic guidance and focus on areas where Intel has an advantage -- thereby improving margins and returns. We are raising our revenue and EPS estimates on Intel to reflect stabilization in the PC market and better spending habits at Intel, and believe the stock should experience multiple expansion as a result.

Intel is trading at a price-to-earnings level of 13.8, below the level of competitors Qualcomm (18.7) and NVIDIA (19.9).

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