Intel's ( INTC) report to Wall Street on Wednesday afternoon won't be pretty. When it delivers its second-quarter results after the bell, the chipmaker is expected to announce that gross margins have dropped to the lowest point in recent memory and that sales have plunged well below normal levels for this time of year. But despite the bleak picture, many investors and analysts are looking outside the financial statement to assess the company's health and its outlook. Intel's stock has suffered recently along with the broader tech sector, but the shares have actually outperformed those of rival Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) amid a feeling that the perceived performance gap between the two companies has begun to reverse. Intel shares closed Tuesday at $18.21, a jump of 37 cents. During the past few weeks, Intel has launched its long-awaited Woodcrest chip -- its answer to AMD's popular Opteron processor for corporate servers -- sold off its struggling handheld chip business and invested $600 million in a company developing wireless broadband products that complement its PC processor business. "We've probably already seen the biggest indication of what should drive the stock in the intermediate term. That's the launch -- on time -- of Woodcrest," says Stifel Nicolaus analyst Cody Acree. After all, Acree says, "if it was the poor products that got Intel into this, then shouldn't better products get them out of this?" Stifel Nicolaus has a noninvestment banking relationship with Intel. Intel is scrambling to right itself after a tumultuous year. Although still the world's dominant supplier of PC microprocessors, Intel has lost significant market share to rival AMD in the past 12 months. Many people in the industry deem AMD's processors superior to Intel's when it comes to performance and energy efficiency. But Intel is striking back with a volley of new products based on a new, more power-efficient microarchitecture. The Woodcrest processor, officially known as the Xeon 5100, is the first taste of the new chip generation, and Intel is slated to release new desktop and laptop processors as the summer progresses.