Call it a perfect storm of economic trends for Intel, and the company is grabbing its surfboard, ready for what could be the recovery ride of its life.
The company will report its fourth quarter after the bell tonight, and there's every indication that Intel will be able to beat the Street's consensus of 30 cents a share on $10.2 billion, though BofA warned just yesterday that there's a chance Intel might miss on the top line. As I wrote earlier in the week, it's really not a question of whether Intel beats tonight, but by how much. WhisperNumber says the number will be 33 cents with the vast majority of its polled investors, 90 percent, anticipating the company to offer a "positive outlook."
That perfect storm is key: enterprise spending is on the rise thanks in large part to the Microsoft Windows 7 upgrade cycle; China is back in the picture (maybe not for media/internet companies like Google?!) as a key buyer of PCs and Intel microprocessors; netbook sales continue to be strong; PC sales, up a surprising 3 percent in 2009, should increase 12 percent this year, or so says Gartner. Just yesterday, IDC announced a surge in global PC sales during the fourth quarter.