Dow Jones Surges as Intel Stock Upgraded, Apple Warns About App Store Fees

Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was one of the rare Dow components to … and Intel had a near-monopoly in the lucrative market for server chips.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES:^DJI) rebounded on Monday following the worst week for the index since the start of the pandemic in March. Volatility may be the norm going forward as the pandemic worsens across the United States. The Dow was up about 1.35% at 12:45 p.m. EST.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) stock rose on Monday, although not as much as the Dow, after an analyst upgraded the stock on the assumption that the risks facing the company are already priced in. Meanwhile, Apple(NASDAQ:AAPL) was one of the rare Dow components to lose ground. The company acknowledged late Friday that a change to its App Store commission policy could seriously hurt its results.

A semiconductor chip.

Image source: Getty Images.

Analyst thinks Intel’s problems are already priced in

A few years ago, chip giant Intel faced no real competition in its key markets. Rival Advanced Micro Devices(NASDAQ:AMD) was struggling to compete with second-rate products, and Intel had a near-monopoly in the lucrative market for server chips.

While Intel is still dominant in terms of market share, that dominance has been eroded by a resurgent AMD and chronic manufacturing delays. Intel’s 10nm manufacturing process is years behind schedule, and the company recently pushed back its 7nm process as well. AMD’s PC and server chips have rapidly improved over the past few years, and its latest Ryzen PC chips look like home runs.

As AMD is staging a comeback, graphics chip company NVIDIA is making a play at the data center with its $40 billion acquisition of ARM Holdings. ARM chips aren’t common in servers, but NVIDIA will try to change that.

Intel’s stock has been hammered this year as these headwinds have piled up. Shares are down 25% in 2020, and they currently trade for a single-digit multiple of earnings. While some pessimism is certainly warranted, Northland analyst Gus Richard thinks the risks facing Intel have already been priced into the stock. Northland upgraded Intel stock from “underperform” to “market perform” on Monday based on the belief that the breakup value of Intel is higher than the beaten-down enterprise value.

Shares of Intel were up about 0.7% by early Monday afternoon, losing out to the broader market. It seems that investors aren’t as sure as Northland that Intel’s problems are already factored into the stock price.

Apple warns about impact of App Store changes

Apple has been coming under fire for its policies related to the App Store. Apple charges app developers fees as high as 30% of the revenue generated from apps and in-app content, and it requires its own payment system to be used. There’s no alternative to the App Store on iPhone and iPads, so most app developers have little choice but to pay the Apple tax.

Some larger developers have been trying to fight back. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, managed to get Apple to ban the popular game after sidestepping Apple’s payment systems. That move led to lawsuits that could pose a threat to Apple’s lucrative App Store setup.

Antitrust regulators pose another threat. Fellow tech giant Alphabet is facing an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, and Apple could find itself facing a lawsuit of its own soon. The European Union is also looking into whether Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay policies hurt competition.

Apple acknowledged these risks in its annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday. The company said that its operating results could be “materially adversely affected” if it is forced to reduce, eliminate, or otherwise narrow the scope of the commission that it retains on sales through the App Store. That warning did not appear in Apple’s previous annual filing.

Apple stock was down about 0.9% by early Monday afternoon, trailing the broader market by a wide margin. Shares of the tech giant are still up about 47% year to date, but they’re down nearly 20% from their 52-week high.