Intel Corp., in reporting a 44% jump in second-quarter profit, signaled strong demand for chips and progress in improving the company's financial position.
    But Intel's profit margins came in below its forecast, suggesting that a long-running battle with rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. continues to put pressure on chip prices. Intel's stock, which had run up recently on signs of improving sales, slid 4.8% in after-hours trading following the announcement.
    Intel is the dominant maker of chips that serve as calculating engines in computers, and its pronouncements are an important proxy for global technology demand. The Santa Clara, Calif., company, which lost ground to AMD between 2003 and mid-2006, launched a counterattack in the past year and regained markets share with some new products.
    Andy Bryant, Intel's chief financial officer, said unit sales were a bit better than expected in the quarter. But average prices were a bit lower than expected, particularly for microprocessors aimed at low-end PCs, added Paul Otellimi, Intel's chief executive, in a conference call with analysts.
    At the same time, demand was lower than expected for a variety of memory chips, known as NOR flash, that Intel plans to spin off into a new joint venture by the fourth quarter. As a result, Intel's gross margin for the second quarter was 46.9%, compared with tis projection in April of 48%, plus or minus a couple of percentage points.
    Intel's revenue was a bit higher than analysts expected.
    The company projected its gross margin would rebound to 52% in the current quarter and held its margin forecast for all of 2007 at 51%. Intel Projected third-quarter revenue of between $9 billion and $9.6 billion; a $9.3 billion midpoint of that range is in line with analyst estimates, as reported by Thomson Financial.
    "All in all it was an in-line quarter," said John Lau, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. But investors' expectations had become overheated in recent days, he said.
    Mr. Otellini characterized the results as "solid" and predicted improvements in the second helf -- particularly in chips for server systems and for notebook computers. He noted that Intel posted a record in unit sales of chip sets -- accessory products that help microprocessors work with other parts of a computer -- and said a recent combination of chips for portable computers dubbed Santa Rosa continues to "ramp" shipment volume quickly.
    "The notebook business is extremely solid for them." said Apjit Walia, a portfolio manager at RBC Capital Markets. "The whole PC food chain is really on fire in Asia."
    Intel reduced its projection for 2007 capital spending to $4.9 billion, plus or minus $200 billion, from a prior target of $5.5 billion, citing manufacturing efficiencies.
    The latest quarter's results included tax items that increased earnings per share by three cents, Intel said, as well as $82 million in restructuring charges.
    Intel's stock was up 38 cents to $26.33 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. It slid in after-hours trading to 25.07.

fore n. 前部
fore- 在前
forecast vt. 預先計畫(計算);先見;預測
suggest vt. 顯示;暗示, 聯想;想到
slide vi. 滑;滑動
dominant adj. 支配的;統治的
counterattack n. 反攻;反擊
counter n. 櫃臺;店櫃
counter- 表相反,相對之義
regain vt. 重得;恢復
quarter n. 四分之一, 季
quartz n. 【礦】石英
particular adj. 與眾不同的;特別的
variety n. 不同;多樣
spin vt. 紡;紡織, 編撰;講述
spine n. 脊柱
gross adj. 粗大的;厚的;粗的, 全部的;總數的
minus n. 減號;負號
rebound vi. 反彈;彈回
estimate vt. 評定;判斷
overheat vt. 使過熱
heat n. 【理】熱;熱力
predict vt. 預測;預言
predicate vt. 斷言為...之屬性
accessory adj. 輔佐的;協助的
access n. 進階;通路;接近
dub vt. 授爵;授榮譽;授銜;起綽號
shipment n. 裝船;運貨
volume n. 冊;書, 容積;容量;體積
portfolio n. 公文夾;公事包, (投資人所持有的)有價證券目錄, 部長之職位
cite vt. 【法律】傳訊;傳喚到庭, 引證;援引
efficiency n. 效率;效能
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