NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report shareholders are happy this morning after the world's largest semiconductor company posted second-quarter results Wednesday that were better-than-feared, despite earnings being aided by a sharply lower tax rate.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel posted second-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share on $13.2 billion in revenue, above the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of 50 cents a share and $13 billion in revenue. Earnings were aided by a 9.3% rate in the quarter, compared to a 25.5% tax rate in the first quarter. CFO Stacy Smith said this was driven by a "one-time refund claim and our decision to indefinitely reinvest certain prior years' non-U.S. earnings."
The company noted that its Client Computing Group, which is now comprised of both PC and mobile chips (previously the two segments were broken out individually) generated $7.5 billion in revenue in the quarter, up 2% sequentially, but down 14% year-over-year as the average selling price (ASP) fell 3%. The largest bright spot for Intel continues to remain its Data Center Group, which saw ASPs rise 5% as revenue climbed 5% sequentially and 10% year over year. The company's other segments, Internet of Things, Software and Services and Other accounted for $559 million, $534 million and $715 million in revenue, respectively.
Gross margins a closely watched level for Intel, came in at 62.5%, above the 62% the company guided to in the first quarter and up 200 basis points from the first quarter.
Shares of Intel, which had rose more than 8% in after-hours trading following the initial results were higher in early Thursday trade, gaining 2.4% to $30.40.
For the third-quarter, Intel said it expects revenue to be between $13.8 billion and $14.8 billion, with gross margins coming in between 61% and 65%. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect the company to generate $14.08 billion in sales for the third quarter.
The PC market continues to decline, with research firm Gartner recently noting worldwide PC shipments fell 9.5%, down to 68.4 million in the second quarter, with all major manufacturers experiencing a decline. The research firm expects an overall drop of about 4% for 2015, before a recovery in 2016.
Despite Intel's largesse, it's not immune to the slowdown, as it cut its capital spending outlook to be between $7.2 billion and $8.2 billion, down from a prior outlook between $8.2 billion and $9.2 billion. It also cut its 2015 full-year revenue outlook, saying it expects revenue to be down 1%, compared to a prior outlook of "approximately flat."
Following the quarter, here's what analysts had to say about the results.
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Michael McConnel (Overweight, $35 PT)
Intel endorsed its DCG growth forecast of 15%-plus in 2015 despite mixed supply-chain commentary, with hyperscale, storage and networking orders more than offsetting weak enterprise demand. We believe this outlook should be enough to support the stock at current levels, despite Intel's Q3 and 2015 PC market outlook exceeding the PC supply chain's, and company days of inventory (DOI) of 89 rising to the highest level since 3Q12."
Ascendiant Capital Markets analyst Cody Acree (Hold, $31 PT)
"Intel delivered results and guidance that we expect to be received well by most of the Street, particularly given the broad negative data-points surrounding the PC market over the last few months. While computing trends have been incrementally bearish, Intel's results were marginally better than expected, with most negative investor sentiment likely already reflected in the firm's shares, in our opinion. Although we continue to be cautious, we believe much of the basis for our prior Sell rating has now played out and are therefore increasing our rating from Sell to Hold."
Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Seymore (Buy, $37 PT)
"Intel delivered a significantly better qtr and guide than feared, with nearly every segment expected to accelerate in 2H15. Unfortunately the strength in the guide appears potentially optimistic vs. numerous industry/macro data points, a fact the bears will surely highlight. However, even with a more cautious view taken in our ests, we continue to see INTC offering a favorable risk/reward at its current discount valuation (12x CY16E vs. S&P at 16x) and expect shares to appreciate as PC headwinds lessen (2H15/2016), DCG strength remains, and Mobile losses shrink. Consequently we maintain our Buy rating."
Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis (Buy, $36 PT)
"2Q EPS beat by $0.01 EPS (ex 1x), and the 3Q outlook implies a $0.03 beat due to both better revs (170 bps) and gross margins (160 bps). Importantly, INTC is officially shifting to a 10 qtr manufacturing process cadence for 10nm, which we think translates to: 1) better gross margins, 2) lower CapEx intensity and higher cash flow, 3) more consistent execution and predictable demand."