Economic Concerns and Intel Pushed The Dow Jones Down Today

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Further concerns about an economic slowdown and an analyst downgrade for the large semiconductor chip maker Intel (INTC -5.28%) helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a decline of nearly 270 points today.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bill remained above 3% as investors continued to analyze whether or not the economy is headed south amid high levels of inflation.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow Tracker tracks economic data in real-time in order to forecast where the economy might be headed. It recently indicated that the U.S. economy could soon be in a recession, which in technical terms would be two straight quarters of negative GDP growth.

U.S. GDP fell at an annualized rate of 1.5% in the first three months of the year, and GDPNow data recently showed that the U.S. economy in the second quarter is likely to post just a modest annualized rise of 0.9%. Economists before this had been estimating GDP growth of 1.3% in Q2.

The news hit the financials sector in particular. Several banks, such as Goldman SachsJPMorgan Chase, and American Express, found themselves among the worst performers in the Dow.

Intel may miss second-quarter estimates

Intel led the Dow downward, with its shares falling more than 5% today, after Citigroup analyst Christopher Danely warned investors today that he expects the company to miss its second-quarter guidance. Danely’s belief stems from comments made by Intel CFO David Zinsner at a recent conference.

Zinsner at the conference said Intel has recently been experiencing three major headwinds. One was that customers couldn’t get the components they need to build their own products. Customers have also been reducing their inventory. Then, there were issues in China, due to lockdowns imposed by the country after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. All of this impacted demand worse than Intel had expected in the quarter.

Zinsner added that Intel expects choppiness in performance similar to other industry peers. However, the company expects to stick with its strategic plan and execute strongly to reach good results.

Danely said in a research note that he believes his bear case is “taking shape even earlier” than he anticipated. Danely maintained his “neutral” rating on the stock and a $45 price target but lowered his estimates for Intel’s revenue and earnings per share for 2022.

Should you be concerned about Intel and the economy?

Interestingly, new data yesterday showed that the cost of semiconductors may be finally peaking and that shipping prices have been steadily declining as well. I would have expected this news to more broadly benefit Intel.

Intel hasn’t exactly crushed it over the past year, or even in the last five years. However, it’s operating in a market that is only going to grow and become more important. Large companies like Intel are also typically able to ride out economic slowdowns better than more volatile, small-cap stocks so I don’t disagree with Citigroup’s hold rating on the chip maker.

As for the economy, a recession is possible but I am more in the camp that if we do see a recession it will be more modest in nature. Consumers are still relatively healthy and spending at strong levels. I also think the Fed will eventually be able to bring down consumer prices and the labor market still looks quite strong right now.