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Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) may just post better-than-expected
revenues April 14 when the processor maker announces its earnings results for the
first quarter. Whatever the results, they will be closely watched as a
bellwether for other technology companies and for the state of technology
spending and demand.

That’s because Intel’s first-quarter earnings will be the first in a new round
of earnings reports from technology companies. Plus, Intel’s processors are one
of the building blocks used by many manufacturers that make PCs, servers and storage
devices. That means Intel feels the movement of the economy before other
technology manufacturers do. And a positive report could mean that more good
news is on the way.

The performance of Intel stock over the last month certainly indicates that investors
may be looking for some good news from the company. Intel shares were trading
at around $16 on April 13, just ahead of market close, compared with $14.25 on
March 16, a month earlier.

And analysts are predicting better-than-expected performance. A pre-earnings
report from FBR Research says that the
research firm’s PC supply chain checks have shown improving bookings, likely
due to better-than-expected PC shipments for the first quarter, reduced chip
inventory levels, the benefits of the China
stimulus package and the beginning of a thaw in corporate demand.

“We think [Intel] will post upside to Q1 estimates and will guide Q2 revenues
flattish to slightly higher sequentially,” FBR
Research says in its brief report.  

FBR Research is raising its estimate for
Intel’s first-quarter revenue to $7.15 billion, which is down 13 percent
quarter-over-quarter and a few points better than Intel’s guidance of $7
billion, the research firm says.

“Consistent with many chip firms, Intel has seen orders ramp over the past
month,” FBR Research says in the report.

FBR Research predicts Intel will guide
revenues to between $7 billion and $7.6 billion in the second quarter.