Intel's first-quarter profit jumped 25 percent yesterday, driven by strong demand for microprocessors used in notebook computers and lower-than-expected...

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Intel’s first-quarter profit jumped 25 percent yesterday, driven by strong demand for microprocessors used in notebook computers and lower-than-expected costs associated with manufacturing and new technologies.

The world’s largest chip maker also said it expects second-quarter sales to be between $8.6 billion and $9.2 billion, which would be in line with Wall Street expectations.

For the three months ended April 2, Intel earned $2.15 billion, or 34 cents per share, compared with $1.73 billion, or 26 cents per share, in the same period last year. The 2004 results included a settlement charge that shaved earnings by 1.7 cents per share.

First-quarter sales increased 17 percent, to $9.43 billion from $8.09 billion in 2004. The first quarter of this year also included an extra week of business.

The results easily beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were expecting Intel to earn 31 cents per share on sales of $9.31 billion, according to a survey of analysts following the company.

In the second quarter, analysts expect Intel to earn 28 cents per share on sales of $8.9 billion. The period is historically one of the weakest of the year, said Apjit Walia, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“For them to guide the top end of the range just below (first-quarter revenues) tells you they’re very confident,” he said.

The results were announced after the end of regular trading. Earlier, Intel shares rose 42 cents to close at $22.63 yesterday. In the extended session, they gained 81 cents. Intel’s stock price is down about 2 percent this year.


Soaring online use drives up ad revenue

Yahoo’s first-quarter profit doubled as the Internet powerhouse continued to ride a rising tide of online advertising.

The company said yesterday that it earned $204.6 million, or 14 cents per share, during the three months ended in March. That compared with net income of $101.2 million, or 7 cents per share at the same time last year.

Analysts who follow Yahoo had forecast earnings of 11 cents per share on revenue of $797 million — a figure that stripped out the company’s advertising commissions.

Revenue for the period totaled $1.17 billion, a 55 percent increase from $757.8 million last year. After subtracting the commissions paid to other Web sites in Yahoo’s rapidly growing ad network, the company’s revenue totaled $821 million, a 49 percent improvement from last year.

Yahoo’s robust growth reflects the increasing amount of time consumers are spending online, curtailing their exposure to television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

The cultural shift is steadily driving more advertising to the Internet, a trend that works in Yahoo’s favor because it runs the world’s most popular Web site with 372 million users through March. The company also runs a search engine that distributes ads to hundreds of other Web sites as it competes with Google to build the Web’s most effective marketing vehicle.

Yahoo’s earnings came out after the close of trading yesterday, when the company’s shares rose 67 cents to $33.22. In after-hours trading, Yahoo shares rose $1.62.


Media behemoth beats market forecast

Viacom, the media conglomerate that owns CBS and MTV, reported yesterday that its net income fell from a year ago when it recorded a tax benefit, but revenues rose 5 percent on growth in its cable networks division.

Viacom earned $585 million, or 36 cents a share, in the January-March period, down from $710.5 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago

The latest results were ahead of the 31 cents per share that analysts who cover the company had been expecting. Viacom’s widely traded Class B shares rose 58 cents to close at $34.54 yesterday.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $5.58 billion from $5.30 billion a year ago, led by a 19 percent revenue gain in the company’s cable networks division, which includes MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. Profits there grew 20 percent.

Wells Fargo

Lending puts bank ahead of the pack

Wells Fargo had record profit of $1.86 billion in the first quarter, leading earnings gains among U.S. banks as consumer and corporate demand for loans increased.

Net income at Wells Fargo, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank, climbed 5.1 percent.

Demand for home loans increased during the quarter as the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage reached an 11-month low in the first week of February. The rate has since climbed almost half a percentage point, to 5.95 percent, fueling concern loan revenue will stall in coming months. The Federal Reserve has boosted its overnight lending rate seven times since last June.

Wells Fargo said banking revenue from consumers and small businesses advanced 16 percent, to $5.81 billion.

Shares of Wells Fargo, which have fallen 5.2 percent this year, dropped 58 cents to $58.93 yesterday.


Soda maker trades higher despite loss

Coca-Cola reported an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit yesterday, but still beat Wall Street expectations and saw its stock rise more than 3 percent.

The beverage giant said it earned $1 billion, or 42 cents a share, for the January-March period compared to a profit of $1.13 billion, or 46 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Coke said it earned $1.12 billion, or 47 cents a share. On that basis, analysts who follow the company expected earnings of 43 cents a share.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $5.27 billion, compared to $5.1 billion recorded a year ago.

Share of Coca-Cola, a Dow component, rose $1.43, or 3.5 percent, to close at $42.40 yesterday. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $38.30 and $53.50.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News