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Intel reaps $600 million tax windfall

Add 17 cents to your Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) expectations for the first quarter.

The chip giant on Thursday said a government audit of past tax returns revealed the company set aside too much for taxes. Intel said the move reverses previously accrued taxes.

As a result, Intel now expects to reduce its first quarter tax provision by $600 million, or 17 cents per share.

Analyst consensus predicts a first quarter profit of 69 cents per share for Intel. However, those estimates typically exclude one-time events.

Revenues, which Intel had predicted will be slightly down from the fourth quarter, could even be flat to down around 2 percent to 4 percent, analysts said. Intel said its previous guidance of a 31.7 percent tax rate for the year 2000 remains unchanged when excluding the $600 million reversal and other acquisition-related costs.

Shares of Intel rose as high as 128 13/16 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network. The stock closed at 127, down 4 7/8 for the session.>