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Shares of


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were upon news that its chief executive expects performancein the first half of 2005 to be "much improved" fromlast year's levels.

The stock added 23 cents, or 1%, to $24.55,bucking a small decline of 0.5% in the benchmarkPhiladelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index.

According to


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, during a visit to India onThursday, Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett toldreporters, "I think we are on track for improvedperformance. We were not meeting our own standards ofperformance earlier this year."



piece said Barrett did not elaborateon the precise nature of the improvement. However, thecurrent consensus estimate for first-half '05 revenuesof $16.8 billion reflects expectations for salesgrowth of only 4% from '04 levels.

Not only are investors concerned about Intel'smuted growth prospects next year, but they have beenrattled over the past year by a series of productdelays at the lead global chipmaker, compounded by itsrecent high-profile

withdrawal of plans fora digital TV chip.

Earlier this month, Intel formally confirmed thatPresident and Chief Operating Officer Paul

Otellini will replaceBarrett as CEO in May.