Analysts worried about rising competition in the semiconductor space in notes after Thursday's report. The analysts remained bullish on the sector overall, which had one of its best days in a decade prior to Intel's report Thursday. Intel posted revenue of $18.66 billion compared with the $19.01 billion analysts were expecting, according to Refinitiv. The company beat on earnings, reporting $1.28 per share, excluding certain items, compared with $1.22 per share expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
Intel also provided light guidance, saying it expects to post 87 cents in earnings per share in the next quarter, excluding certain items, on around $16 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2019. Analysts had expected $1.01 per share, excluding certain items, on $17.35 billion in revenue, according to Refinitiv.
Intel's search for a new chief executive is still ongoing, the company told investors Thursday. The company has been without a permanent CEO for seven months, since Brian Krzanich was forced out after Intel determined he had been in a "consensual relationship with an Intel employee." In the meantime, Intel's finance chief, Bob Swan, has been serving as interim CEO. On Thursday's call with investors, Swan said Intel's board is "proceeding with a sense of urgency while also ensuring that they make the right choice for this great company."
Jefferies gave Intel an underperform rating, saying, "We are bullish on semis in part because consolidation is driving pricing power and higher margins, but we think the opposite will happen to Intel over the next 12-to-24 months." The analysts wrote that Intel faces stiff competition from Nvidia in the data center market and AMD in PCs.
— CNBC's Jordan Novet contributed to this report.