National Semiconductor (NSM) reported second-quarter fiscal 2002 results that beat both revenue and earnings estimates handily.

The chipmaker announced during trading Thursday that it notched $366.5 million in revenues for a 26 cents-a-share loss. The Street was expecting $358.2 million in sales, a 6% revenue increase over the first quarter, and a sequentially flat 31 cents a share loss, according to

The results sent shares of National Semiconductor up $1.11, or 3.6%, to $33.73 in recent trading.

National Semi projected that results for the third quarter under way would be "comparable" to its second-quarter finish, with $350 million to $370 million in revenue. National declined to predict a loss level for next quarter. Analysts eyed $363.3 million in revenue and a 24-cent loss in the third quarter before National's announcement.

Despite September's rocky business environment, the company improved its gross margins to 35.3%, carried by a stronger-than-expected analog business. National's competitors in the analog arena did not see such strength in the fall quarter. In the first quarter, National's gross margins slipped to 32.4%, which management attributed to lower factory utilization caused by the continuing chip-industry slump. The chipmaker expects to match the second quarter's gross margin in the third quarter.

National's bookings climbed 5% sequentially, driven by mobile-phone and PC-related products, a 34% year-over-year drop-off. Wireless and computer business also helped nudge bookings in the first quarter up 13% sequentially, for a 54% year-over-year decline.