Intel cheers foundry wins, AI traction, and its stock is roaring after earnings

Intel Corp. shares were popping nearly 8% in Thursday’s extended session after the chip maker delivered a rosy forecast, while talking up new customers for its foundry business and traction related to artificial intelligence.

For the fourth quarter, Intel

anticipates $14.6 billion to $15.6 billion in revenue, whereas analysts were looking for $14.4 billion. The company is also modeling 44 cents in adjusted earnings per share, while the FactSet consensus was for 33 cents.

“While the industry has seen some wallet share shifts between CPU and accelerators over the last several quarters, as well as some inventory burn in the server market, we see signs of normalization as we enter Q4,” Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said on the earnings call.

Gelsinger expressed confidence about Intel’s positioning — and the future of central processing units — as AI becomes more dominant in the technology world.

“Training of these large models is interesting, but the deployment of those models, the inferencing use of those models is what we believe is truly spectacular for the future,” he said. “And…some of that will run on the accelerators, but a huge amount of that is going to run, right, on Xeons.”

He also shared that Intel now has three customers for its 18A foundry process technology that have made commitments. The company previously disclosed one customer made prepayments, but Gelsinger added Thursday that Intel has two other customers.

“The other thing that we saw this quarter, which was a little bit unexpected, was this huge surge in interest for AI customers and Intel’s advanced packaging technology,” he said.

Intel is in the midst of a big push to build a foundry business through which it would manufacture chips for other companies, though not all on Wall Street are sold yet on the move.

The company also delivered an upbeat third-quarter report, easily clearing Wall Street’s bar on profit and topping expectations on revenue as well.

The company reported net income of $297 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with $1.0 billion, or 25 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. On an adjusted basis, Intel earned 41 cents a share, down from 59 cents a share a year prior, while analysts were looking for 22 cents a share.

Revenue dropped to $14.2 billion from $15.3 billion, while the FactSet consensus called for $13.6 billion.

The company saw revenue from its personal-computer segment, known as client-computing, drop 3% to $7.9 billion, whereas analysts were looking for $7.3 billion. Data-center and AI revenue fell 10% to $3.8 billion, narrowly missing the FactSet consensus, which was $3.9 billion.

Intel recorded a 45.8% adjusted gross margin, compared with 39.8% in the second quarter. The company’s forecast had been for about 43%.

Intel shares have climbed 24% so far this year, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has lost about 1%.

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