One stock that has been underperforming in the AI sector is Intel (INTC).
While Intel's historical significance and contributions to the technological realm are undoubted, various aspects currently shroud its potential as a commendable AI stock today.
Intel has simply fallen too far behind its competitors in the chip space and I expect its financials to continue suffering as a result.
Here’s why you should avoid INTC stock today…
Intel's Financial Health: A Cause for Concern
Intel's financial health has been a significant concern for investors. The company's free cash flow turned negative in 2023, and analysts from Wolfe Research predict that there is “little chance” of Intel generating positive cash flow even in the event of an industry-wide recovery in 2024. This is a clear red flag for potential investors, as a company's ability to generate positive cash flow is crucial for its sustainability and growth.
Moreover, Intel's recovery is expected to be both lengthy and costly, further dampening the prospects of a quick turnaround. The company's recent financial performance, including a slashed dividend and its first negative-income quarter in years, has led to a “D” grade for Intel stock and an “underperform” rating with a $27 price target. This suggests significant downside potential for Intel stock.
AI Chip Market: A Tough Battle Ahead
The AI chip market is heating up, and Intel is struggling to keep pace. The company has lost significant market share to other chip makers in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. Susquehannah analyst Christopher Rolland warns that increased spending on GPU chips for AI applications could lead to decreased spending on data-center infrastructure, which could be highly problematic for Intel.
Intel's position in the AI-chip arms race is precarious. Rolland notes, “AI remains a mixed story for Intel … we remain cautious on Intel’s server competitiveness for the next several years.” Without meaningful increases in hyperscale (cloud) capex this quarter, there is a fear that AI server GPU purchasing could crowd out wallet share for CPUs, further eroding Intel's market share.
Investment Verdict: Avoid Intel Stock
Given the above factors, it is clear that Intel is facing significant challenges. The company's financial health is questionable, and its position in the AI chip market is far from secure. Out of 27 prominent analysts, 17 recently issued a “hold” rating on Intel shares, while six issued a “sell” rating and only four issued a “buy” rating on the stock. This consensus suggests a lack of confidence in Intel's near-term prospects.
While Intel is not a failing company, its current circumstances make it a risky investment, particularly for those interested in the AI sector. Investors should monitor Intel's financials closely and look for improvement before considering an investment. For now, Intel stock is not a high-confidence pick for the second half of 2023. Therefore, we recommend investors to avoid Intel stock at all costs as an AI investment.
For investors, this may be the biggest tech opportunity you'll see in your lifetime. (HINT: It's not who you think.)