Intel Q4 Profit Plunges, but Beats Wall Street Estimates

Intel Corp. (INTC) Tuesday posted a quarterly profit that beat the average Wall Street estimate as a raft of new high-end processors from the top chipmaker lifted average selling prices.

Intel, which supplies processors for about three-quarters of the world's personal computers, also said it expected sales for the first quarter of between $8.7 billion and $9.3 billion, compared to the average Wall Street forecast of $8.93 billion.

Intel shares fell nearly 1 percent to $22.10 in extended trading after the results were released.

Intel's fourth-quarter net profit, including special items, was $1.5 billion, or 26 cents per share, compared to $2.45 billion, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

That beat the average Wall Street forecast of $1.44 billion, or 25 cents per share.

Revenue was $9.69 billion, down 5 percent from $10.2 billion a year earlier but ahead of the average forecast of $9.43 billion.

Gross margin was 49.6 percent, up from 49.1 percent in the third quarter.

Intel has been locked in a bruising price war with chief rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) Over the past year, Intel shares have fallen nearly 15 percent while AMD's have lost nearly half their value.

The price war has bit more deeply into AMD's bottom line, and its stock is valued at 11.6 times expected 2007 profit, compared to nearly 19 times for Intel shares.