Intel and Qualcomm bullish on second half

Leading US chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm gave bullish forecasts for the second half of the year as they expect strength in emerging markets and a surge in demand for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to drive sales.

Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker by revenues, reported a 23 per cent growth in sales in the first half. Paul Otellini, chief executive, said this “and our increasing confidence in the second half of 2011 position us to grow annual revenues in the mid-20 per cent range”.

Qualcomm raised its revenue and profits forecasts for its full year, citing “strong global smartphone adoption” and the addition of Atheros, a chipmaker whose acquisition it completed in May.

Intel, whose microprocessors power four out of every five PCs sold, said there was continuing softness in mature consumer markets like the US and Europe, but emerging markets were “healthy and growing”.

Shipments to Turkey and Indonesia were up more than 70 per cent in the second quarter, while Indian and Chinese unit shipments were up 17 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

However, Intel lowered its forecast for PC unit growth in 2011 from the low double-digits to 8-10 per cent. Its shares fell 1.8 per cent to $22.57 in extended trading on the news. It was more optimistic on PC revenues, with businesses continuing to refresh their equipment at higher prices than in the consumer segment.

Unlike Qualcomm, Intel has failed to make an impression with its chips in smartphones and tablets to date, but growth in mobile data usage has benefited server chips sold for remote data centres. Chip shipments for storage systems serving the internet “cloud” were up 38 per cent on a year earlier.

Intel reported double-digit revenue growth in all its business segments, which contributed to record sales of $13.1bn in the second quarter, ahead of analyst expectations of $12.8bn, according to Thomson Reuters. Intel predicted revenues of around $14bn for its third quarter, ahead of analyst forecasts of $13.5bn compiled by Bloomberg.

Second-quarter profits of $3bn or 54 cents a share were ahead of Wall Street expectations of 51 cents.

Qualcomm, the world’s biggest wireless chipmaker by revenues, reported June quarter revenues rose 34 per cent year-on-year to $3.6bn and profits of 61 cents a share were up 30 per cent. It raised its revenue guidance for its fiscal year ending in September from $14.1bn-$14.7bn to $14.7bn-$15bn, reporting strength in North America and Asia.

It also raised its forecast for average selling prices of mobile devices by $3 to $207 per unit “primarily driven by greater adoption of higher priced devices such as smartphones around the world”.

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