Tech Talk: Intel’s Interesting Year

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Technology is evolving at super speeds, and 2020 only served to help it along by fostering a new culture in which people stay at home more and therefore rely on technology more for both work and play. As a result, some tech companies boomed in popularity. The Intel Corporation has been a key player in the technology industry for decades, as Intel products—mainly chips—are used to power countless PC models worldwide. If you’ve ever bought a new computer, the “Intel inside” sticker is hard to miss. The name Intel is a mainstay of tech on so many levels, and although the company had several prominent releases in 2020, they were overshadowed by the likes of AMD and Apple, who launched extremely competitive products of their own. Let’s take a look at which products Intel launched in 2020, what that meant for Intel stock, and what the future of the tech giant looks like.

Welcome to Intel

Intel was founded in 1968 when Andrew Grove, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore came together to pave the way for semiconductors. Since then, the company has solidified its place as the biggest manufacturer of semiconductors by revenue, and as a microprocessor supplier for companies like Lenovo, Dell and HP. These are Intel’s two major products that have seen the company rise to major success over the years. The x86 processor, in particular, has been an industry leader and has contributed to making Intel the tech company it is today. Intel was known for its SRAM and DRAM memory chips up until 1981, when the world began using PCs and Intel could flex its muscles with the commercial microprocessor chip that it had developed 10 years earlier. Last year Dell, Lenovo and HP made up 17%, 12% and 10% of Intel’s total revenues, respectively. But as you’re about to see, that global popularity did little to shield Intel stock prices from the economic onslaught brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Intel’s 2020 lag

When Intel developed the Comet Lake-S processor that brought HyperThreading down to its baseline Core i3 models last year, it basically provided faster processing for more affordable PCs. However, this was overshadowed by their competitor AMD’s similar release, the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, and then by Apple’s decision to release the MacBook Air, Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro with its own M1 processor chip, rather than those made by Intel. This left Intel in a strange predicament that caused a tumultuous year in 2020. Intel stock prices hit a serious 36% crash in March 2020, falling from $67.210 on the 19th of February to $44.082 on the 16th of March. Intel stocks continued on a volatile trajectory over the rest of 2020, with brief upswings and continued downturns to close the year off on a price of $49.886. So, while the pandemic was good news for many tech companies, Intel did not see the same uptick that a host of others experienced over last year.

Intel in Q1 2021

So far, Intel has been regaining some of its declines in the first quarter of 2021. The big tech player began the year on a closing price of $49.712 on the 4th of January, and then jumped up by 25.7% over the rest of the month, to close at $62.509 on the 21st. Then Intel had a sharp decline over the next six days when it decreased by 14.1% to land on $53.675 on the 27th of January. After this quick dip however, Intel stocks went back on an upward journey of 27.2% to close at $68.311 on the 9th of April. Over the next month, Intel stock prices fell back down again by 16.6% to a closing price of $56.908 on the 4th of May. All in all, it was a wild ride for Intel stocks in the first quarter of 2021 and into the second quarter as well, so the rest of the year looks like its going to be interesting for the tech giant in the markets.

What’s next for Intel?

The company’s flagship Core i9-11900K processor was released this year, which may bode well for future gains, however Intel stocks dipped by 1.7% after it released its second quarter earnings guidance. Also, there’s a global shortage of semiconductor chips that are of crucial importance to many products like laptops and cars, which has drawn Intel a lot of attention and could impact the company going forward. What’s next for Intel largely depends on the company’s new releases, because innovation is the name of the game when it comes to tech and staying relevant is getting harder each year.

Stock share trading as CFDs

If your interest in tech companies like Intel extends to the financial world, the type of price volatility of Intel stock we’ve just discussed could provide both opportunities and risks for those who engage in share trading as CFDs. CFDs, or Contracts for Difference, allow you to take advantage of price movements in both directions—increases as well as decreases—of top tech companies like Intel, without having to purchase the underlying asset (in this case any actual shares). Effectively, CFDs allow you to invest in volatility, so if you expected the price of Intel stock to go up, you could open a ‘Buy’ deal or ‘Go long,’ whereas if you expected it to go down, you could open a ‘Sell’ deal or ‘Go short.’

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