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Intel earnings beat Wall Street predictions

The chipmaker's third-quarter revenue comes in at $9.4 billion, beating analysts' expectations, which hovered at just more than $9 billion.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. PDT: adding comments from CEO Paul Otellini and CFO Stacy Smith.

Intel's third-quarter revenue jumped $1.4 billion over the second quarter, though year-to-year revenue and profit comparisons were down.

The world's largest chipmaker is struggling to lead the PC industry out of a brutal downturn that saw demand collapse earlier in the year.

Revenue came in at $9.4 billion, beating Wall Street expectations, which hovered at just more than $9 billion. Revenue, however, was down from the $10.2 billion reported in the year-earlier period.

On a year over year basis, revenue for the third quarter was down 8 percent, Intel said in a statement, adding that this was an improvement over the 15 percent and 26 percent year over year declines in the second and first quarters respectively.

Intel shares were up more than 5 percent after hours, trading as high as $21.45 form a regular closing price of $20.49.

"Overall (corporate) enterprise remains weak," said CEO Paul Otellini in the company's earnings conference call.

Profits were $1.9 billion, or 33 cents per share, down from the third quarter of last year, when Intel posted a profit of $2.0 billion, or 35 cents a share. But the 33 cents beat analyst forecasts, which were 28 cents per share.

The chipmaker's gross margin for the quarter, a crucial earnings indicator, was 57.6 percent, higher than the company was projecting.

Looking ahead, Intel expects revenue to hit $10.1 billion, "plus or minus $400 million," in the fourth quarter, and gross margin to improve to 62 percent, plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Intel also said the average selling price for microprocessors was slightly down sequentially.

Inventories were also down $315 million sequentially. Intel chief financial officer Stacy Smith said inventories were a little lower than Intel would like and that Intel intends to increase inventories in the fourth quarter.