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Here's Why This Analyst Cut Estimates for Intel Corp.

By Ashraf Eassa - Apr 1, 2016 at 8:00PM

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PC market weakness rears its ugly head -- again.

Image credit: Intel. 

Analyst Ambrish Srivastava with BMO Capital Marketa (via Barron's) went ahead and trimmed revenue and earnings estimates for chip giant Intel (INTC 3.06%). The cuts were sweeping, covering the March quarter, June quarter, the full year and the following year.

The analyst kept his "Market Perform" rating and $30 price target on the stock.

Let's take a closer look at why this analyst trimmed his estimates.

No surprise: PC weakness
The analyst believes that notebook shipments "are tracking slightly above" the firm's prior estimates while shipments of desktops are coming in below said estimates. Notebook shipments from Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) are claimed to be down 23% quarter-over-quarter -- steeper than the 19% average seasonal decline over the last three years.

As far as desktops go, the analysts claim that the top four motherboard makers are "tracking at -10% [quarter over quarter]" in the first quarter of 2016, which represents the "low end" of the analyst's forecast of down 7% to 10% sequentially.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, the analyst calls for ODM notebook shipments to be "roughly flat" sequentially, with (desktop) motherboard shipments down "in the low single digits." These figures compare unfavorably to the three-year trend of a 6% increase and flat for notebooks and desktops, respectively.

PCs down means estimates come down
Intel derives the majority of its revenue from the sale of processors into the PC market, so it's no surprise that the analyst is taking down his full-year 2016 as well as 2017 estimates in light of the apparent continued weakness in PCs.

Although some investors may question the reliability of this report, it's worth noting that memory maker Micron (MU 5.69%) -- which derives a significant portion of its revenues from the PC market – also reported ongoing weakness in the PC market.

"Our results were affected by continued weakness in the PC market, seasonality and timing of product launches in certain market segments," Micron CEO Mark Durcan said in a conference call with analysts.

Durcan also noted that the PC market "continues to be weak" and is calling for overall PC unit demand to be down "mid-single digits" for the current year.

Turning back to the analysis from Srivastava, the analyst believes that a reduction in PC processor shipments will not only impact revenue but, "all else being equal," should also impact gross profit margins (due to the likely factory underutilization that would ensue).

All told, the analyst trims his 2016 earnings per share estimates to just $2.13, down from a prior $2.20, and takes down 2017 estimates from $2.63 to $2.53.

The good news? Intel stock is still pretty cheap
Even with 2017 earnings-per-share estimates of $2.53 per share, that means the stock is currently trading at around 12.53 times said estimates. The stock isn't particularly expensive, so it's unsurprising that -- even with all of the well-known bad news that's out in the open -- the stock is still managing to hold up fairly nicely.

The upside for Intel stock is probably going to be limited over the next year or so, but the silver lining here is that the downside is likely to be fairly limited, too.


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Stocks Mentioned

Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
$44.40 (3.06%) $1.32
Micron Technology, Inc. Stock Quote
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