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Why AMD’s Stock Price Is Soaring and Intel’s Is Falling Hard

Shares of surging chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices jumped another 6% at midday on Monday to $17.34, its highest price in more than 11 years, on predictions that the company is gaining serious ground on rival Intel in the notebook and server computer markets. The shares ultimately closed up 5% at $17.11. AMD’s share price has surged almost 80% in the past two months.

Meanwhile, rival Intel’s price dropped 4% to as low as $52.35 in midday trading on Monday, though the stock was still up 16% so far this year. By day’s end, the shares closed down 3% at $53.22.

Intel claimed almost the entirety of microprocessor chip sales that power corporate and cloud-based server computers in recent years and the lion’s share of the lucrative desktop and notebook PC markets, as well. Last year, AMD unveiled a more competitive line of chips to compete with Intel (INTC) and analysts say the laggard finally is starting to make up some ground.

Gus Richard, an analyst at Northland Capital Markets, on Monday downgraded his rating on Intel’s stock to “underperform” with a price target about 20% below Intel’s closing price on Friday. Increased competition from AMD, greater use of graphics chips in many data centers (for performing AI tasks), and a diminishing ability by Intel to unveil chip manufacturing advances ahead of rivals are all hurting, Richard noted.

AMD (AMD) has lately been updating its revived chip line with second generation improvements to the Ryzen chip for PCs and Epyc chip for servers.

“The performance gap between Intel and AMD has narrowed substantially,” according to Richard. “AMD is now well positioned to compete in desktop and notebook markets. While AMD’s parts may sell at a discount to Intel’s the discount is declining and the price points are increasing.”

Intel said it was ready for the competition. “While we are prepared for a more competitive environment as we move through 2018, we’ve already factored that into our financial forecast and we’re in a great position to compete,” Intel said in a statement. “We remain very confident in our products, our roadmap and our competitive position.” The company pointed to its Xeon processor Scalable family and upcoming new Intel Optane DC persistent memory and storage technology as examples.

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(Update: This story was updated on June 19 with closing stock prices.)