Intel Could Fall as Investors Doubt Forecasts

OptionMonster co-founder Pete Najarian provides options picks Monday, Wednesday and Friday in TheStreet.com's Deep in the Money Calls newsletter.

Guy Adami, stocks editor at OptionMonster.

This morning Bank of America ( BAC)/Merrill Lynch upgraded Intel ( INTC) to a "buy" rating, saying the chipmaker is starting to see a definite improvement in demand, which will drive margins higher in the semiconductor industry in general.

Sounds kind of like the "green shoots" idea. Maybe the folks at Bank of America missed this, but the market has already been pricing in exactly this kind of improvement for the last three months.

We're now in a period of questioning those assumptions, and everyone will have an eye on earning to see just how real this recovery is. I won't opine on that, but it's clear that the optimism is facing a big reality check as I write these words.

Don't get me wrong: I love Intel and own it personally. I'm just saying it's not worth chasing at these levels.

The Intel bulls already got a reality check last Wednesday, when the stock rallied to a nine-month high above $17 in heavy volume. But who wants to chase any kind of economically sensitive name higher when the rest of the market is questioning its bullish assumptions?

It looks like Intel hit a near-term top on Wednesday. The stock has already pulled back from its high today of $16.93 and is showing some signs of weakness. We could see it trade down to $15.75. It will take at least a little while to break back through $17.

When the market stabilizes and rebounds, Intel is a name you want to own. But that's in the future, and it's going to get cheaper first.

The writer owns shares of Intel.

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