Financial Performance

Intel Misses Estimates on Weaker Cloud Sales

Intel's Q4 report “should be a huge, blaring warning to tech investors that the cloud boom could be coming to an end."
Matthew HellerJanuary 25, 2019
Intel Misses Estimates on Weaker Cloud Sales

Intel shares fell sharply in extended trading Thursday after the company missed quarterly revenue estimates, reflecting in part weaker sales to cloud customers.

In the fourth quarter, traditionally Intel’s strongest, revenue rose 9% to $18.66 billion and net income increased 14% to $5.9 billion to $1.28 per share. Analysts had forecast revenue of $19.01 billion and earnings of $1.22 per share.

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“We grew revenue, expanded earnings, and previewed new 10nm-based products that position Intel to compete and win going forward,” Bob Swan, Intel’s CFO and interim CEO, said in a news release.

For the full year, Intel posted record revenue in every business segment and Swan said it was forecasting another record year in 2019. But its first-quarter earnings guidance of 87 cents per share, excluding certain items, was below analysts’ expectations for $1.01 per share.

In Thursday’s extended session, Intel shares dipped 7% to $46.22.

“We expect headwinds to mount in 1Q as data center demand likely continues to slow and Intel’s new Apple modem business likely declines amid soft demand,” Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, said in a client note.

Revenue from client computing, Intel’s biggest revenue generator, rose 10% to $9.82 billion in the fourth quarter, missing the $10.01 billion consensus estimate, while the 9% growth in Intel’s data-center group, which includes chips for cloud providers, to $6.07 billion was below expectations of $6.35 billion.

Data-center revenue had grown 24%, 27% and 26%, respectively, in the first three quarters of 2018 as cloud computing fueled a boom in data-center construction. “Over the medium- to long-term, the cloud business is going to continue to grow. There’s no doubt about that,” Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s data-center group, said on an earnings call.

But MarketWatch warned the fourth-quarter report “should be a huge, blaring warning to tech investors that the cloud boom could be coming to an end.

Intel also cited the slowdown in China, a weakened modem market, and an inability to manufacture enough processors as reasons its revenue did not meet expectations.