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Intel On Earnings Deck: It's Laptops, Laptops, Laptops

Intel
Intel

Dow component Intel reports earnings after the bell later today, and while I touched on expectations yesterday,I want to go a little deeper today, especially with a market like this one.

Intel keeps humming along, and there's every indication, at least among analysts covering this company, that the company's stable finances will continue today.

Even amid ongoing concerns that the PC market is stalling--it's not, Intel is holding its own. Mostly because rumors of a PC industry contraction, particularly in China and Europe, appear to be exaggerated. Couple that with continued growth in laptops, where Intel is taking sharp aim, and it would seem all's quiet on the Western front.

Pacific Crest expects notebook microprocessors should increase 20 percent sequentially. And what the firm says are strong second quarter chipset sales are a precursor of Q3 revenue growth. And that, of course, bodes well for the company's gross margins, expected to be at or near 56 percent today.

Those are the reasons Pacific Crest maintains a $23 target on these shares. Analysts expect 25 cents on $9.3 billion later today. Guidance will also get a fair amount of attention with the Street projecting 34 cents on $10.1 billion for the current quarter.

Meantime, Intel's numbers could serve as a nice harbinger of what to expect from customers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Fact is, Intel has been somewhat of a stodgy, if stable performer. Advanced Micro Deviceshas basically become a non-entity with few on the Street anticipating any meaningful competition. And as I wrote yesterday, Intel's innovation is alive and well and not just kicking, but kicking butt.

Shares are down 10 percent this past quarter, and way, way off the $27 these shares enjoyed in December. The question for investors now: will today's earnings and outlook be enough to spark what some on the Street say could be a 15 percent rally in coming months. That sounds possible, but it's little solace for those of you who got in in December.

Intel, like Microsoft, needs something significant, some chunk of news that helps these shares truly break out. My sense is, today's report should be solid, but likely not the break-out many investors are hoping for.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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