Intel Q1 income drops 64 percent

Chip giant Intel Corp. Tuesday reported first-quarter income of US$1.1 billion before unusual items, down 64 percent from a year ago, but said its microprocessor business appears to have stabilized.

Revenue for the quarter, which ended March 31, was US$6.7 billion, down 16 percent from last year, Intel said in a statement.

The income figure translated into earnings of $0.16 per share, down from the $0.43 Intel posted during the first quarter of 2000, and down 58 percent from the immediate prior quarter.

The results beat by one penny the consensus estimate of 23 analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Those analysts reduced their expectations just yesterday from $0.16 per share.

"Our microprocessor business appears to have stabilized and we expect to see normal seasonal patterns going forward from our current business level," said Intel's president and chief executive officer, Craig Barrett. The company's communications business continues to see softness, he said, but investments in new manufacturing technologies provide a good foundation for the future.

Just last month, Intel lowered its revenue expectations, as well as announcing it would lay off 5,000 of its nearly 87,000 workers because of lagging sales of microprocessors, especially those used in servers. At the time, the company said it expected its revenue to be down 25 percent from the previous quarter, while it had previously said it expected only a 15 percent decrease.

Ahead of the news, Intel's shares on the Nasdaq ended Tuesday's trading at $25.82, down 1.83 percent from Monday's close.

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