It has been more than six months since Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has traded in the $25 range. After Tuesday's miss, many will look for strength in Intel's share price to push technology stocks higher into the second half of the year. There is no need for a would-be investor in Intel to wait before starting a position.
Selling $25 puts dated August 18, 2012, for 75 cents on Wednesday would let you pocket 52.5 cents more per share than shareholders of record will receive for their quarterly dividend. If the option expires without being executed, you gain 3% in 30 days on your investment. Should the option exercise, you buy a yield greater than 3.6%. These August puts closed yesterday at 78 cents.
You'll be hoping to get put shares of Intel and I'll explain why: Cloud Computing. But Intel doesn't have a large share of the tablet space you say? Cloud Computing isn't tablet computing, it is meeting the computing and storage demands of various network users. The most popular cloud computing format is Amazon.com, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMZN) EC2. Currently, the most powerful Amazon EC2 offerings are Cluster Compute Instances and Cluster GPU Instances.
Amazon describes these as follows:
Cluster Compute instances provide a very large amount of CPU coupled with increased network performance making them well suited for High Performance Compute (HPC) applications and other demanding network-bound applications.
Cluster GPU instances provide general-purpose graphics processing units (GPUs) with proportionally high CPU and increased network performance making them well suited for applications benefiting from highly parallelized processing, including HPC, rendering and media processing applications.
Both of these instances use Intel computing chips (Xenon X5570 Quad Core "Nehalem" architecture, Xenon E5-2670 Eight Core "Sandy Bridge" architecture) exclusively. Only Intel is capable of providing the quality and performance to handle these applications.
Intel is also meeting storage demands of Cloud Computing and servers in general. This computing calls for performance, lower power consumption and higher levels of reliability in hardware. Intel's solid state drives (SSD) are the preferred vehicle to achieve these ends. There are many SSD manufacturers but only Samsung and Intel fabricate their own chips, and as a result, these two offer the highest-quality product. Between those two, Intel's SSDs are the industry's more reliable drives. As a result, Intel's SSDs command a premium price, compared with competitors.
This premium is important not just for its contribution to Intel's bottom line, but because it highlights a strategic approach to the mobile computing market. Instead of focusing on lower-margin consumer-end hardware, Intel has leveraged its fabrication and research advantages to provide infrastructure-critical components.
Intel's fabrication plants help ensure quality, while demonstrating capacity to meet demand for future business partners. It is this capacity and Samsung's entry into the consumer mobile computing space that will push Apple to continue to adopt Intel architecture in its machines.
Research and development spending at Intel has already redefined the storage landscape. As SSD fragmentation of data is meaningless, there are no moving parts susceptible to vibration/shock, and power consumption is a third that of similar Hard Drives.
While competitors push the speed limit of Flash-based Solid State Storage, Intel is focused on improving reliability and building software encryption into the storage device itself—the things servers need most. An increase in speed might impress a local user, but in the Cloud, where computing power is supplied from multiple sources, that speed increase is negligible. On the other hand, preventing data corruption and increasing the security of networks in the Cloud is paramount.
Disclosure: I am long INTC.