Intel raises its first-quarter profits to record highs

Intel Corporation, the US maker of computer chips, surprised the market as it almost quadrupled profits to record its best ever first- quarter financial performance.

The company said the better-than-expected results were bolstered by demand for "high-end devices". Its shares rose by 3.2 per cent to $23.50 in early trading in New York.

Paul Otellini, the president and chief executive officer, said the demand for Intel's technology and the company's execution had sent net profits up from $629m in the three months to 28 March 2009 to $2.4bn a year later. Revenues were up by 50 per cent at $10.3bn, beating analysts' predictions of $9.8bn.

"Looking forward, we're optimistic about our business as Intel products are designed into a variety of new and exciting segments," Mr Otellini added.

The company believes the strength will continue into the second quarter and predicts that revenues will come in at about $10.2bn.

Intel is the first major US technology company to report this year and is seen as a bellwether for the industry. The strength of its first-quarter results eased investors' concerns about the state of the semiconductor market. Analysts at Wells Fargo said its numbers were "particularly impressive" and showed evidence of strong demand in the computer market and excellent profitability for Intel.

Glen Yeung, an analyst at Citigroup, said demand trends were "indicative of an improving economy" and the results showed the first indications of corporate client demand.

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