SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel ( INTC) sharply reduced its fourth-quarter sales expectations Wednesday, citing "significantly" weaker-than-expected demand in all regions and across all product types.

The world's No. 1 maker of PC microprocessors said revenue in final three months of the year is now expected to be $9 billion, plus or minus $300 million, instead of its previously forecasted range of $10.1 billion to $10.9 billion.

Intel also said its gross profit margin in the quarter will be 55%, plus or minus a couple of points, instead of the 59% level previously expected.

The news comes a week after CEO Paul Otellini described the current economic slowdown as the worst he'd seen in his lifetime.

Intel was slated to give Wall Street a midquarter update on Dec. 4, but the company said that Wednesday's warning replaces that event.

Shares of Intel were halted; they're scheduled to resume trading at 5:20 p.m. EST. The stock closed the regular session off 2.9% to $13.54.

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