Intel Blows Past Wall Street Forecasts

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) late Tuesday posted second-quarter results that were well above Wall Street estimates, providing the first solid hint of economic recovery for the tech sector.

Intel’s pro forma earnings of 18 cents a share were a dime better than analysts expected, and sales of $8 billion were more than $700 million ahead of expectations. The company’s third-quarter forecast was also well above forecasts.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini called the results “our strongest first- to second-quarter growth since 1988 and a clear expectation for a seasonally stronger second half.”

Intel’s sales were down 15% from the year ago quarter, but up 12% from the first quarter, and the chip giant also reported much better than expected gross margins, a stark contrast to Dell’s (NASDAQ: DELL) comments about cost and pricing pressures.

Intel shares jumped 7% in after-hours trading on the news, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up about 1.5%.

Stocks posted modest gains ahead of Intel’s results despite some weak numbers out of Dell, Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and Novellus (NASDAQ: NVLS). Dell fell 8% on its outlook, but Sun and Novellus managed small gains.

This week will see earnings reports from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), all on Thursday.

The Nasdaq rose 6 to 1799, the S&P 500 added 4 to 905, and the Dow climbed 27 to 8359. Volume declined to 4.31 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.89 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 25-11 margin on the NYSE, and 15-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 69% on the NYSE, and 65% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 30-39 on the NYSE, and 25-20 on the Nasdaq.

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