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Anybody who owns a stock fund should pay attention to
That's because the company that plays a big role in running the computer you're using probably plays a big role in the funds you own, too.
On Thursday evening, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant said its third-quarter revenue and profit margins would fall short of estimates due to softening demand in Europe. The tech bellwether's shares, which finished the day down $1.58 or 2.5%, tumbled in the after-hours market. In after-hours trading on
, Intel plunged 20%.
If you own more than one stock fund, the odds are your portfolio could take a hit from Intel's drop. The company, whose Pentium processors dominate the PC market, has been a favorite among fund managers. More than 1,100 U.S. stock funds owned Intel shares at the end of August, according to
. That's about four out of 10 stock funds, rivaling only mammoth networking concern
for top fund ownership among tech stocks.
It's All About the Pentiums
Source: Morningstar. Performance through Sept. 20.
And if you own a large-cap growth fund or tech fund, the odds of you owning Intel go up. A whopping 77% of large-cap growth funds own shares and more than half the tech funds own it, too. And
funds, where more than $245 billion is invested, have about 3.8% of their assets invested in the stock.
Until Thursday night, that's generally been a good thing. Intel shares boast a 53.7% five-year annualized return, trouncing the S&P 500 by more than 20 percentage points.
But, before Thursday night the stock had fallen more than 15% over the past month. Some analysts had warned of potentially slackening demand, but much of the selling may have been normal profit-taking. The stock, which has increased earnings at a 20% clip over the past five years according to
, rose more than 60% in the first six months of the year. Before Thursday's tumble, its shares traded at a 42.8 price-to-earnings ratio, compared with 26.3 for the S&P 500.
For their part, a couple of fund managers who own shares weren't too rattled by the news. PC orders typically dip and the euro has been sagging, so the news shouldn't have been a shock, some say.
"The third quarter is always the toughest, and August is historically the worst month for PC orders. Then you add the currency problems, and it makes sense. I think they're growing sequentially given those factors, just not as fast as everyone thought. We think, as usual, PC orders will pick up in the fourth quarter and things will look good again," says Alan Loewenstein, co-manager of
John Hancock Technology fund, which owns Intel in its portfolio.
"This is just a disgusting overreaction. We don't even have much news, and this is taking everything else down with it," says Dave Nadig, co-manager of the tech-heavy
Openfund, which owns the stock.
Fund investors should hope he's right. The list of 10 funds with the biggest bet on Intel turns up few household names. That said, there are a host of mammoth and widely held funds with a significant chunk of their assets invested in Intel, including $110.5 billion
Vanguard 500 Index (3.6%), $109.8 billion
Fidelity Magellan (2.8%) and $41.3 billion
American Century Ultra (4.3%).
One fund shop that had its doubts about Intel was quiet giant
. In the second quarter their fund managers sold nearly 30 million shares, reducing their firmwide position by more than a third. The firm's $36.8 billion
Growth Fund of America and $55.2 billion
Investment Company of America funds, both among the 15 largest funds in the nation, sold more Intel shares -- nearly four million combined -- than any other funds in the second quarter, according to Morningstar.
Since the average growth fund has a tech-stock position of more than 40% and Intel is a favorite among fund managers, plenty of pros and their shareholders will be watching Intel on Friday. A sustained downturn, especially if it weighed on the broader tech sector, would be bad news for everyone.