Something remarkable happened recently with Intel's (INTC -2.40%) stock. The company released its third-quarter earnings report, disappointing investors on earnings and revising its revenue projections lower.

But despite that news, Intel stock actually increased in next-day trading. Given those results and the reaction, is it finally time to buy Intel stock?

Another weak earnings report

Admittedly, Intel's latest earnings report shows the depth of its issues. The company reported $15.3 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022. From a GAAP perspective, that fell 20% from year-ago levels but slightly beat the consensus estimate of $15.25 billion.

However, net income came in at $1 billion, or $0.25 per share. Analysts expected $0.32 per share. Moreover, the $63 billion to $64 billion forecast for 2022 represents a significant reduction from the $65 billion to $68 billion forecast in Q2.

The company cited a "pronounced slowdown in demand" for both its results and outlook on the Q3 2022 earnings call. Still, it also said that the beleaguered PC sector began to show improvement in Q3.

Why investors did not care

The rising stock price could mean that investors may finally gained some perspective on Intel stock. This may seem to make no sense at first glance. Both Taiwan Semiconductor and Samsung continue to hold a years-long technical lead. Additionally, longtime rival AMD continues to claim more of Intel's market share in the server market, according to DigiTimes.

Nonetheless, Intel has fallen so far that it sells for less than 1.2 times its book value. At one point, the plunge to its recent intraday low of $24.59 per share means it briefly traded below this critical level.

Reasons to consider Intel

That move below book value would imply a high likelihood of bankruptcy. Although Intel remains troubled, its expected $63 billion to $64 billion makes it the largest revenue producer in the industry, except for Samsung and TSMC. That is hardly an indication the company is going under.

Moreover, it still operates the largest number of foundries in the U.S. This is significant given efforts to onshore some chip manufacturing. For those reasons, the $53 billion in industry subsidies approved by the U.S. government should help Intel.

Admittedly, many investors, myself included, hold doubts about Intel's plans to regain the technical lead by 2025. Nonetheless, its 10nm chip release makes Intel the third most advanced chip producer.

Also, foundries ranging from TSMC to GlobalFoundries have built a business on less-advanced chips. With Intel going into the foundry business with Intel Foundry Services, more clients will likely turn to Intel chips as conditions improve, even if it falls short of gaining technical leadership.

Furthermore, autonomous driving company Mobileye now trades on the market. Through that tracker stock, this segment could unlock more of its value, giving Intel stock an additional boost.

The state of Intel

At current levels, Intel looks like a buy. Indeed, it is far behind the industry leaders, and it remains unclear if or when Intel will catch up.

However, the semiconductor stock trades barely above book value. That valuation leaves the stock with little room for a downside. Additionally, Intel's sheer production volume, data center leadership, and emerging foundry business could boost its stock. This means that even if the technical lead remains elusive, a recovery in the stock should not.