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Nvidia beats estimates by a penny

The maker of graphics chips reports fiscal first-quarter earnings that narrowly top already raised expectations.

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia reported fiscal first-quarter earnings Wednesday that narrowly topped already raised expectations.

For the three months ended April 28, Nvidia said it earned $83.2 million, or 47 cents per share, on revenue of $582.9 million. That compares with earnings of $26.7 million, or 16 cents per share, on revenue of $240.9 million that Nvidia took in during last year's first quarter.

Analysts had been expecting the company to earn 46 cents a share, according to First Call.

"We are extremely pleased with our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2003," Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said in a statement. "During the quarter, we entered a new product cycle and delivered a number of groundbreaking products in each of our core markets."

The earnings are in line with a forecast made last month by Nvidia when it raised its outlook for the quarter. The same week, Nvidia also disclosed that it was in arbitration with Microsoft over the pricing of its chips used in the Xbox and that it was restating its earnings for the past three years because of accounting issues.

On a conference call with analysts, Huang predicted that revenue would grow in the current quarter by 1 percent to 3 percent over the April quarter, despite the fact that he expects the PC market to decline 5 percent to 7 percent sequentially.

However, because of increased costs related to developing new chips, Huang estimated that second-quarter earnings could dip slightly. He predicted earnings of between 44 cents per share and 47 cents per share.

However, he said Nvidia is raising its earnings estimate for the full year to a range of $1.82 to $1.88 per share, up from $1.70 to $1.75, with revenue still expected to be in the range of $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion.

Huang also said he did not expect a significant revenue loss from Intel's newly introduced 845G chipset, which combines the features of a graphics chip with those traditionally handled by the chipset. Chipsets are companion chips that shuttle data between the microprocessor and other components such as memory.

Huang said that the 845G, like other integrated graphics chipsets, will be most successful in business PCs and low-end consumer models.

"I think the 845 is just way overblown," Huang said, estimating that at most it will take $20 million to $40 million in revenue from Nvidia, assuming about 10 percent of the market shifts to using integrated graphics as a result of the 845.