Upbeat Comments From Intel Buoy Chips

An early sell-off on a warning from Applied Materials turned into gains Thursday after Intel CEO Craig Barrett said he expects “much improved performance” in the first half of 2005.

“I am looking at a much improved performance in the first half of 2005 than what it was in the first half of 2004,” Barrett told reporters during a visit to India, in response to a question about product delays and manufacturing problems at Intel this year.

“I think we are on track for improved performance,” Reuters quoted Barrett as saying. “We were not meeting our own standards of performance earlier this year.”

Barrett’s comments were enough to send shares of Intel to a 2% gain on the day. AMAT went from a 5% opening decline to a 1.8% gain by the close.

Intel will deliver its mid-quarter update on Dec. 2.

The Nasdaq added 4 to 2104, the S&P 500 climbed 1 to 1183, and the Dow rose 22 to 10,572. Volume declined to 1.46 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.96 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by four issues on the NYSE, while decliners led 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 57% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 173-9 on the NYSE, and 125-25 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Autodesk and Serena beat estimates. Novell , McData and Marvell beat earnings estimates but came in light on revenues. Blue Coat met estimates.

During the day, Google fell 3% after the company said in an SEC filing, “Although our revenue growth rate increased in the third quarter of 2004 compared to the second quarter of 2004, our revenue growth rate has generally declined, and we expect it will continue to do so as a result of increasing competition and the inevitable decline in growth rates as our revenues increase to higher levels.”

PeopleSoft edged higher on the eve of Oracle’s offer deadline.

Netflix soared 14% after raising subscriber and revenue guidance.

Instinet jumped 7% on a New York Times report that the company could be acquired.

Intuit slipped after the company beat estimates but warned.

Webmethods received a delisting notice and will trade under the symbol “WEBME.”

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