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Intel revises sales forecast to upper end of estimates

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Citing strong microprocessor sales, chip-maker Intel Corp. narrowed the range of its third-quarter sales forecast toward the upper end of its earlier estimates.

The semiconductor giant said Thursday it now expects revenue to be between $7.6 billion and $7.8 billion, compared with its Aug. 22 forecast of between $7.3 billion and $7.8 billion.

The Santa Clara-based company cited strong demand in its Intel Architecture business, which produces Pentium, Celeron and Xeon microprocessors for personal computers and servers. Emerging markets were particularly strong, Intel said.

Intel will report full earnings Oct. 14.

Analysts on average expect the company to earn 22 cents per share on sales of $7.58 billion, according to a survey by Thomson First Call. Originally, Intel had forecast third-quarter revenues of between $6.9 billion and $7.5 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 27. Last year, Intel earned $686 million in the third quarter, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $6.5 billion.

Intel officials have characterized the processor uptick as stronger-than-normal seasonal demand, not the start of another high-tech boom. In a conference call last month in which the company raised forecasts, chief financial officer Andy Bryant said it's too early to declare a full recovery.

But the news is the latest sign of some recovery, particularly in the long-suffering PC business. On Wednesday, Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said sales in July and August were "encouraging."