Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) shares plunged nearly 10% in premarket trading on Friday after the semiconductor giant reported weak fourth-quarter results and issued a shocking forecast for the first-quarter, leaving many on Wall Street to question whether the dividend is safe.
Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon, who has an underperform rating on Intel (INTC), called the level of deterioration for the financial results “stunning” and became concerned for the company’s cash position.
“It is now clear why Intel needs to cut so much cost as the company’s original plans prove to be fantasy,” Rasgon wrote in a note to clients. “However the magnitude of the deterioration is stunning, and now brings potential concern to the company’s cash position over time in our opinion, with our new model contemplating significant cash burn on the back of worse economics, high CAPEX, and a heavy dividend; it seems reasonable to think that investors should at least start thinking about the security of the latter.”
Looking to the first-quarter, Intel (INTC) expects to lose 15 cents per share, excluding one-time items, with revenue forecast to be between $10.5B and $11.5B. The company also expects gross margins to fall below 40%, coming in at 39%.
Analysts expect the company to earn 25 cents per share, $13.96B in sales and gross margins of 45.5%.
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh said the results from the PC and data center went from “bad to worse,” as AMD (AMD) continues to take market share.
“After undershipping PC sell-through by 10% in 2022, INTC expects the Gap to widen in 1Q, while in data center, incremental weakness across enterprise, China, and hyperscaler is cited,” Vinh wrote in a note to clients.
“While no full-year guidance was provided, [Intel] sees the [first-half] correction will be followed by a [second-half] recovery. We expect 2023 will be another challenging year with limited catalysts.”
AMD (AMD) and Nvidia (NVDA) fell 2.4% and 1.6% respectively in premarket trading on Friday on back of the results.
Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Seymore, who has a hold rating on the stock, said the poor results from Intel (INTC) were “more than macro,” as the Pat Gelsinger-led company continues to impose pain on itself.
“We agree that macro is the primary driver of this shortfall (with Intel noting weakness spreading into the Cloud market), but we cannot ignore the Intel-specific dynamics exacerbating this pain (overly confident revenue outlook & hiring in 2022, Data Center roadmap issues, etc.),” Seymore wrote.
“Overall, we sympathize with Intel’s (INTC) challenge of executing a multi-year & expensive turnaround in the midst of a macro/semi-cycle downturn and believe [Intel’s first-quarter] guidance may very well mark the long-awaited financial ‘bottom,'” Seymore added.
“However, the shocking depth of that ‘bottom’ is likely to feed investor doubts regarding both the probability and timing of any transformative structural rebound.”
Earlier this month, Intel’s (INTC) Gelsinger said the company was still in talks with Italy to build a fab in the country but was talking to other European countries as well.