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Intel Beats Estimates, Raises Forecast on Improved PC Market

The company now expects year-over-year sales growth of five percent.

Asa Mathat

Chipmaker Intel said on Tuesday that an improved PC market helped it to deliver quarterly earnings that exceeded its initial estimates. The company also hiked its full-year sales outlook.

Intel reported second-quarter earnings of $2.8 billion, or 55 cents per share, on sales of $13.8 billion for the three months ending in June.

The company raised its expectations last month, saying it expected sales to be about $13.7 billion, up from its original April forecast of $13 billion. At the time, the company said that the improved health of the business PC market was largely responsible for the improved outlook.

Intel said its board of directors has authorized the company to increase its stock buyback by $20 billion and expects to repurchase some $4 billion this quarter alone, with further buybacks planned for the fourth quarter.

“This change in our capital structure is the continuation of a multi-year focus on creating value and returning cash to our shareholders, and reinforces our confidence in the business,” CFO Stacy J. Smith said in a statement.

It also said it now expects five percent revenue growth for the full year, up from a previous forecast of essentially flat sales. For the current quarter, which runs through September, Intel said it expects revenue of around $14.4 billion, give or take $500 million, with gross margins of around 66 percent.

After essentially missing out on the early days of the tablet, Intel has set an ambitious goal of powering 40 million tablets this year, the bulk of them likely to run Android. The company also sees a growing business in selling laptops running Google’s Chrome OS.

Intel’s mobile unit, though, posted quarterly revenue of $51 million, down 83 percent year on year and off 67 percent from the first quarter. (CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement that Intel remains on track to hit that goal.)

However, the bread and butter of Intel’s business is still powering Windows PCs, and its fortunes remain closely linked to the health of that business.

Desktop chip unit sales were up eight percent from a year ago and average selling prices increased two percent as well. Notebook processor unit sales increased nine percent while the average selling price declined seven percent year over year.

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