Strong demand for notebook computers powered by Intel chips helped boost third-quarter profit by 5 percent, but the technology bellwether...

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Strong demand for notebook computers powered by Intel chips helped boost third-quarter profit by 5 percent, but the technology bellwether missed analyst expectations by a penny.

In the three months ended Oct. 1, the world’s largest maker of PC microprocessors earned $2 billion, or 32 cents per share, compared with $1.91 billion, or 30 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $9.96 billion compared with $8.47 billion in the year-ago period.

Intel said the latest results included an increase in taxes of about $250 million and the payment of $300 million to MicroUnity Inc. to settle a patent-infringement case.

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Analysts were expecting the chip maker to earn 33 cents per share on sales of $9.92 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Last month the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company had tightened its revenue forecasts to between $9.8 billion and $10 billion.

Intel said it expects revenue in the fourth quarter to be between $10.2 billion and $10.8 billion.

Shares of Intel slid more than 3 percent in after-hours trading, falling 77 cents, after gaining 26 cents to $23.72 during the regular session in advance of the earnings report.

Continental Airlines

Earnings jump despite fuel prices

Continental Airlines exceeded Wall Street expectations with third-quarter earnings of $61 million despite high jet-fuel prices, the carrier said yesterday.

Continental’s earnings of 80 cents per share, compared with a loss of $18 million, or 29 cents a share, in the third quarter 2004, was nearly triple expectations of 27 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Excluding a $3 million special charge, the Houston-based airline earned $64 million, or 83 cents a share.

Continental attributed $109 million in third-quarter operating income — an $87 million increase over $22 million in the year-ago period — to revenue improvements and more than $400 million in savings from pay and benefit concessions.

The company said its traffic grew 8.1 percent to 19.3 billion revenue passenger miles last quarter.

The airline’s fuel expense of $684 million rose 65.4 percent from July through September last year.

The airline said hurricanes Katrina and Rita hurt its operations, forcing a 36-hour closure at its largest hub, Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, which cost the carrier about $25 million.

Continental shares closed up 16 cents at $11.89 yesterday. In after-market activity the shares rose another 11 cents.

Yahoo!

Profit exceeds analysts’ estimates

Yahoo!’s third-quarter profit topped analyst expectations as advertisers continued to flock to the company’s popular Web site.

The company said yesterday that it earned $253.8 million, or 17 cents per share, during the three months ended in September.

That was essentially unchanged from net income of $253.3 million, or 17 cents per share, at the same time last year when Yahoo! realized a large windfall from the sale of its stake in rival Google.

Revenue for this year’s period totaled $1.33 billion, a 47 percent increase from $906.7 million last year.

The earnings exceeded the consensus estimate of 14 cents per share among analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Yahoo! released the results after the stock market closed yesterday. The company’s shares fell 46 cents to close at $33.70 during the regular session, then gained 5 cents in extended trading.

Motorola

Cellphone sales

a boost for company

Motorola, the world’s No. 2 maker of mobile phones, said yesterday its third-quarter earnings more than tripled on record sales as it continued to pick up market share in the global cellphone market.

Motorola said net earnings for the July-through-September period were $1.75 billion, or 69 cents per share, compared with $479 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier not counting the semiconductor unit, which it has since spun off.

Motorola had operating earnings of 30 cents per share — 2 cents better than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Motorola said sales jumped 41 percent in the cellphone unit, its biggest, as it increased its market share to 19 percent — up 5.5 percent from a year earlier and about 1 percent from the second quarter of 2005.

Motorola shares closed up 23 cents at $20.17 yesterday before the report was released and jumped 2.4 percent higher in after-hours activity.

3M

Earnings rise 10%

in third quarter

3M, maker of Scotch tape, Post-it notes and a range of industrial products, said earnings for the third quarter rose 10 percent.

The company raised the lower end of its earnings guidance for the full year. Its shares rose more than 3 percent.

Net income rose to $853 million, or $1.10 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $775 million, or 97 cents per share, a year earlier.

Costs related to the company’s acquisition of Cuno Inc. reduced earnings for the latest quarter by 2 cents per share.

The adjusted earnings of $1.12 per share were 4 cents better than the mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Sales increased 8.3 percent to $5.38 billion from $4.97 billion.

Shares of 3M, a Dow industrial stock, rose $2.24 to close at $74.71.

Johnson & Johnson

Doubts raised

on Guidant deal

Johnson & Johnson’s chief financial officer said yesterday the company is considering alternatives to its planned acquisition of troubled heart-device maker Guidant as the health-care-products company posted a 12 percent jump in third-quarter profit amid strong overseas sales.

The acquisition, set to close last month, has been in question because of Guidant’s recalls of pacemakers and defibrillators.

The comments by J&J CFO Robert J. Daretta were the first public indication the $25.4 billion deal may be in trouble. Shares of Guidant plunged $8.28 to close at $64.10, then rose a dime in after-hours trading.

Shares of J&J, a Dow industrial, fell 3 cents to close at $62.97 yesterday.

Yesterday, J&J reported its third-quarter net income grew to $2.63 billion, or 87 cents per share, for the July-September period from $2.34 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year ago.

The maker of contraceptives, contact lenses, prescription drugs and baby- and skin-care products said revenue rose 7 percent, to $12.31 billion from $11.55 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of 86 cents on revenue of $12.51 billion.

Compiled from The Associated Press