Intel edges third-quarter forecast lower

Intel on Thursday shifted its third-quarter earnings down slightly, saying microprocessor sales have been slower than expected for the period.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, provided a mid-quarter update that showed the chip maker pushing down its guidance to slightly below the midpoint of previous expectations, according to a statement. The company now expects to post revenue between US$6.3 billion and $6.7 billion for the quarter, which ends Sept. 28. The range in its previous forecast was between $6.3 billion and $6.9 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call, in a consensus estimate, have pegged Intel to post earnings per share of $0.13 on revenue of $6.6 billion.

Intel noted that its microprocessor unit sales are coming in lower than expected for this time of the year. In addition, demand for the company's communications products remains soft, the company said in the statement. Flash memory sales are in line with expectations.

"(T)he U.S. and all of the Americas in general, and Europe, are about as we expected," said Paul Otellini, president and chief operating officer at Intel, during a conference call to discuss the mid-quarter guidance. "We are seeing Asia and Japan slightly softer than we expected."

Otellini added that it was still too early to tell if the back-to-school season that often benefits PC makers would be as strong as in past years.

Shares of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) shed more than 6 percent during Thursday's trading to close at $15.11. In after-hours trading on The Island ECN Inc. trading network, Intel's shares had jumped to $15.88 at the time of this report.

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