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Dow Jones Up 195 Points, in Record Territory Despite Intel Worries

By Jason Hall – Jul 23, 2021 at 3:20PM

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Shares of semiconductor giant Intel fell sharply after the company reported earnings, but a better report from American Express and a positive day for most stocks has the index set to close at record levels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) is up 194.6 points on July 23 at 3:07 p.m. EDT, putting it on track to set an all-time high today. Today's gains come despite a 6.4% drop in Intel's (INTC -0.82%) share price following the company's second-quarter earnings report, released yesterday after market close, making it easily the worst performer in the index of 30 major U.S. large cap stocks

Today's decline from Intel is being offset by a bevy of modest gains across the index, led by a 2.5% move higher by McDonald's (MCD -0.66%), with Visa (V -1.83%) and American Express (AXP -0.43%) also moving up after the latter company reported its second-quarter results, which earned a far better reception than those of Intel. 

Person holding a semiconductor chipset.

Image source: Getty Images.

Dow on track to set an all-time high on mostly positive earnings 

It's been a busy week for earnings for Dow component stocks. Yesterday brought results from Coca-Cola (KO -1.37%), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.06%), and Verizon Communications (VZ -2.91%), all of which generally met investors' expectations and showed that their businesses were indeed quickly recovering from the tough year-ago periods and that the economic recovery was driving stronger sales. 

Yesterday afternoon, American Express kept the streak alive, announcing 33% revenue growth and $2.3 billion in net income, up nearly tenfold. The company said part of its earnings were due to reversing $866 million in credit default reserves it took last year to bolster its balance sheet during the pandemic. In short, its customers have proven able to continue to pay their bills. 

And it looks like things are on track to continue strengthening. The company said Card Member spending in June "exceeded pre-pandemic levels," a huge positive for American Express, and the broader economic recovery.

Visa investors seem to think this is a positive sign for that company, too, sending its shares up over 2% at this writing despite no direct news. Visa reports earnings on July 27. 

Company outlook, analyst price cuts, send Intel shares down sharply

It's been a tough year-plus for the semiconductor giant, and expectations were low heading into Intel's earnings report yesterday. Yet even with those low expectations, and results that exceeded most of them, Intel's share price is plunging today, down over 6% at this writing. 

So what happened? First, Intel's quarterly results. The company reported revenue of $19.6 billion, about the same as the year-ago quarter, while adjusted earnings per share of $1.28 was a whopping $0.23 per share higher than the company's guidance from its first-quarter earnings update. That's a big beat. 

However, it wasn't enough to offset continued worries about the company's progress in making up for lost ground to its competitors. This was reflected in company guidance, which called for $19 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings of $1.08 per share, a step backward from the second quarter. 

Despite its full-year guidance actually being higher than it was after last quarter, Wall Street reacted quickly, with many of the analysts who follow the company lowering their price targets. It was perfect recipe for a sell-off.

Can Intel turn things around? As one analyst noted, we won't really know how its turnaround plan is working out until later this year. Intel remains solidly profitable, but major organizational changes and tens of billions in needed spending are still needed to regain its fading relevance in the semiconductor space. If you think it's on the right track, it's certainly getting more compelling. Shares are down more than 20% from the 52-week high, and the dividend yield is back above 2.5% at this writing. 

American Express is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Jason Hall owns shares of American Express and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Visa. The Motley Fool recommends Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Verizon Communications and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $57.50 calls on Intel and short January 2023 $57.50 puts on Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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