In the fourth quarter of 2020, Intel saw revenue fall 1% year over year to $20 billion. Adjusted earnings held steady at $1.52 per diluted share. Intel's guidance for this period had pointed to earnings near $1.10 per share on top-line sales in the neighborhood of $17.3 billion. Your average analyst would have settled for earnings of $1.10 per share with a slightly higher revenue target of $17.5 billion.
Intel's management expects first-quarter earnings of roughly $1.10 per share, down from $1.45 per share in the year-ago period. Adjusted revenue should land near $17.5 billion, 12% below the year-ago reading. Here, analysts had sketched out their targets at $0.93 per share and $16.1 billion, respectively.
The pure financial data was strong, but incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger also noted that Intel's upgrade to a next-generation manufacturing process keeps running behind schedule and the company will probably lean on third-party chip manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor for a while longer.
"I am confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally," Gelsinger said in the earnings call. "At the same time, given the breadth of our portfolio, it's likely that we will expand our use of external foundries for certain technologies and products. We will provide more details on this and our 2023 roadmap once I fully assess the analysis that has been done and the best path forward."
Furthermore, Intel's results leaked before the closing bell on Thursday, driving the stock nearly 7% higher in a matter of minutes. Taken together with today's lower prices, the report as a whole left Intel's share prices roughly where they were on Thursday afternoon. It's still fair to say that investors and analysts are concerned about the company's manufacturing issues.