After going nowhere for the last decade, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is finally beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) in 2014 on the back of a projected turnaround. Today it took another step in that direction, bringing 14-nanometer chips closer to reality.
It doesn't hurt that the Dow is only up 2% for the year, and that there's been a broad rotation from high-growth, high-risk stocks that did well a year ago to low P/E stocks such as Intel.
Why Intel beat the Dow today
Intel rolled out what it's calling the Devil's Canyon processor, a quad-core processor in which each core can run 4 GHz, the first chip that fast. The chip can be used with existing motherboards, so it's really just a boost from existing products.
The bigger revolution comes with Intel's new 14nm system on a chip. The first 14nm fanless mobile chip for 2-in-1s was announced today and will be available later this year. Foxconn even showed off 10 Intel-powered tablets that are available either now or in the future.
As tablets, smartphones, and wearable devices become more prevalent and connected, Intel has had to adjust by integrating more capabilities on each chip. It was playing catch-up to the competition in this effort, but the 14nm designs are a technology leap forward and will allow for smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient devices. Intel product announcements are starting to pick up, and that should accelerate further as the 14nm platform rolls out.
All of these products are incremental improvements in Intel's position in the marketplace. With the PC slowly dying, Intel is trying to move into tablets and other devices with new chip designs. If it can, investors are primed to profit.
Intel is generating about $20 billion per year from operations and roughly $9 billion in free cash flow. This is for a company worth just $137 billion, so if new products lead to growth the company's value could easily double.
Intel isn't a quick hitter for investors, but I think the company is on the right track with a management team that has taken a long-term approach to developing its mobile solutions. While the industry was recovering from the financial crisis, Intel was investing in 14nm technology. That's where it could pull ahead of competitors; new product announcements are a step in that direction.
Maybe 2014 is finally the year Intel becomes a market-beating stock once again.