Editor's Note: this post originally appeared on CNBC.com Tuesday, October 13
Intel's report was blockbuster, plain and simple, and the key takeaway is that the news isn't merely "less bad," but finally "good."
The world's largest chipmaker got a whole lot larger, and a whole lot faster than Wall Street expected. Its 33 cents a share in profit was a nickel better than consensus and 2 cents better than earningswhisper.com expected. The $9.4 billion blew away the $9.04 billion consensus. And for a company that beats expectations 59 percent of the time, no time might have been more important than this one.
Make no mistake: Intel didn't bank sales at the expense of margins. The company's 58 percent gross margin was much better than the 54.6 percent expected, and the 51 percent this company reported in its previous quarter.
And as if the good news wasn't good enough, Intel's guidance for the fourth quarter is stellar: $10.1 billion versus a whisper of $9.9 billion, and a 62 percent gross margin. The company says a better-than-expected back to school shopping season gives it much better visibility into the seasonally strong fourth quarter. And it looks good, thanks to a stronger consumer (when did you hear that last?) and new strength from China.