SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Computer chip giant Intel Corp. injected some vigor into the listless technology industry with fourth-quarter results that outstripped expectations.
The Santa Clara-based company earned $1.05 billion, or 16 cents per share, more than double its profit of $504 million, or 7 cents per share, at the same time in the previous year. A $75 million tax benefit generated by several Intel divestitures helped to fatten the 2002 profit.
The earnings released Tuesday topped the consensus estimate of 14 cents per share among analysts polled by Thomson First Call.
The showing reflected much stronger demand for Intel's chips than management anticipated at the outset of the quarter. The company registered fourth-quarter sales of $7.16 billion, a 3 percent increase from $6.98 billion in the prior year.
The revenue topped the consensus estimate of $6.9 billion.
While pleased with the quarter, Intel management emphasized there still are no signs pointing to a high-tech revival.
"We are doing all the right things, but what I can't tell you is when things will really start to pick up," Andy Bryant, Intel's chief financial officer, said in an interview.
Intel's pleasant surprise may help to deepen the conviction that the worst is over in high-tech, setting the stage for brighter times during the second half of 2003.
"That's about all we can hope for at this point," said industry analyst Eric Rothdeutsch of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey.