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Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) Is “Flailing About,” Bernstein Cuts Target

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Intel Corporation  will release its earnings for the three months through June on Wednesday July 16 after the market closes, but those following the firm on Wall Street aren’t looking for a blowout from the chip maker. Leading into the release more than one Wall Street firm has lowered its outlook on Intel. Bernstein became the latest firm to cut its price target in a report published on Tuesday morning.

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Analysts at the firm cut their price target on Intel from $29 to $25 today, and said that the coming earnings report would be less strong than had been expected. Bernstein now thinks that Intel will Underperform over the next twelve months. The firm’s downgrade came on the back of another two on Monday.

Wall Street looks down on Intel Corporation

Wedbush analyst Betsy Hees said that although Intel would Outperform over the next year in her opinion, the firm’s shares are going to meet some headwinds. She lowered her target on shares in Intel from $37 to $34. Her biggest concern was the wider stock market, though some factors hitting Intel specifically were also blamed for the problems.

  

Weak PC market demand, which became clear after a recent report from Gartner showed that only Apple had grown in the segment during the three months through June. The Gartner research showed that the PC market was 5.8 percent smaller in the June quarter of 2015 than in the same three months of last year.

Another report, this time from IDC, said that the PC market was 3.3 percent smaller in the June quarter of 2015 than in the same period of 2014.

Tim Arcuri of Cowen and Company had a similar outlook to that espoused by Hees of Wedbush. Arcuri said that the firm was still rated at Market Perform, but problems in the market made him lower his price target on the firm from $33 to $32.

Mr. Arcuri thinks that there may be a downside in the results that Intel  delivers for the June quarter because of a “host of negative PC indicators.”

The Bernstein analysts are similarly worried about the problems in the PC market on the health of Intel, though they think those troubles are going to hit the firm a lot harder. Their $25 price target on the firm is just a little higher than the Wall Street low of $23, and much lower than Wall Street’s median $35 target on shares at the chip maker.

There is now “little prospect for good news” in the stock says Bernstein, and things may indeed get much worse.

Stacy A. Rasgon, who authored the report for Bernstein, added that “notebook ASP declines, heavy (indeed, disastrous) mobile losses, and (until recently) high capex,” were all part of a structural thesis they’ve had for years about the future of the firm.

Those in charge of Intel are as much of a worry as the market itself in some ways. Rasgon says “We can’t help but get the feeling of some “flailing about” on the part of the company.”

Intel stock sinks on market worries

The PC market is a problem for Intel , but so is the wider stock market. More than one of the analysts covering the firm mentioned lowered expectations for the stock market as whole as a reason for their lower forecasts on the firm’s shares.

Betsy Hees listed Grexit fears and a slow down in China as reasons for lower estimates heading into earnings. If the wider stock market is set to perform poorly in the months ahead, and world demand is set to be hit by macroeconomic problems, Intel is almost bound to underperform.

Intel earnings will arrive after the market closes on Wednesday July 16. Analysts are, by consensus, looking for the firm to record EPS of 50 cents per share for the June quarter. Revenue is expected to come in at $13bn.

At time of writing, shares in the firm were down by close to 1 percent on this morning’s pre-market. If that carries through until Wednesday afternoon, traders may be pricing in lower numbers than the Wall Street consensus.

Update 10:27 EST: Added details from Bernstein report on Intel Corporation.

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