SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel ( INTC) confirmed the obvious: It's getting ugly out there. The world's No.1 chipmaker told investors Tuesday that corporate spending on technology has weakened in the past month, and that consumer demand is not what it should be at this time of year. The comments represent an unusually downbeat assessment from Intel, which as of July was still insisting that demand was running strong. But a cautious fourth-quarter outlook from Intel was widely expected on Wall Street in the wake of September's global financial conflagration -- and its forecast wasn't as catastrophic as some of the worst-case scenarios feared by some investors. Intel's stock, which has fallen roughly 18% in the weeks leading up to its quarterly earnings report, was off just 20 cents at $15.73 in midday trading Wednesday amid a broad market selloff. Analysts tweaked their estimates to reflect the latest financial guidance, but did not appear to have made any fundamental changes to their view of Intel. "While end demand is deteriorating, we think we are now capturing enough bad news in our estimates for next year and think that further EPS downside risk from here is modest," wrote Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Craig Berger in a note to investors Wednesday. Berger, who rates Intel a neutral, lowered his 2009 earnings estimate from $1.40 to $1.33, and cut his price target to $22, instead of $23. Analysts with more bearish leanings interpreted Intel's report as the first taste of bad things to come.