I've been bearish on Intel (INTC -0.80%) for years. Smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 0.41%) always seemed like a credible threat, not to mention a more promising investment for the long term. But times have changed.
Now I own Intel stock and have a thumbs-down CAPScall riding on AMD. How did that happen?
First, AMD made some huge mistakes that effectively erased Intel's threat from below. AMD's momentum in laptop and server chips faded due to a series of rash management changes, surprising product delays, and a spirited response from Intel's own engineers. The underdog is currently fighting for its financial life, and hardly in a position to kill Intel anymore.
At the same time, the computing market is changing fast, with disastrous results for Intel's stock. Apple (AAPL -2.46%) and Google (GOOGL -1.35%) are replacing traditional laptops and desktops with newfangled smartphones and tablets by the millions. Neither Intel nor AMD are big in the mobile computing space, where alternative chip architect ARM Holdings (ARMH) reigns supreme.
As a result, Intel's top- and bottom-line growth stalled out. Analysts, watching Intel through their usual short-term lenses, think the world is collapsing. That's why Intel's stock price plunged 24% over the last year. Meanwhile, the company keeps increasing dividend payouts with relentless regularity, pushing yields up to a sensational 4.2%.
I'm sure that Intel will come roaring back in the long run. For one thing, all these mobile gadgets still need to be served data from increasingly powerful data centers. Nobody can challenge Intel in that market.
For another, the chip giant hasn't given up on tablets and smartphones. Intel's mobile products creep ever closer to ARM's designs in terms of low-power performance, and Google's Android software was always compatible with this architecture. On the Apple side, Intel may soon start manufacturing Cupertino's mobile chips as the fruit moves away from longtime partner Samsung.
So this stock is getting the death penalty for a short-term misdemeanor. One or more of the company's long-term plans will surely keep the sector veteran afloat and thriving for years to come. That's why I locked in a fantastic entry price and earnings yield by buying Intel stock in December.
Intel shares are fantastically cheap right now, paired with a brilliant dividend yield. And I do believe that rumors of Intel's death have been greatly overstated. What's not to love?