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raised its revenue and margin guidance for the third quarter, saying microprocessor sales are strong across all of its categories. The announcement -- which came a day after the company's CEO noted signs of improving personal computer-sales -- lifted the chipmaker's shares and sparked a rally in tech stocks.

Intel now expects revenue of between $7.3 billion and $7.8 billion for the quarter, compared with the previous range of $6.9 billion to $7.5 billion. The company's Intel Architecture business -- its computer microprocessor segment -- is "generally trending higher across all geographies and channels while demand for communications products remains soft," Intel said.

Intel said its gross margin should be 56%, plus or minus a couple of points, vs. the previous expectation of 54%, also plus or minus a couple of points. As is usually the case, Intel didn't provide a specific earnings estimate, though inevitably with revenue and margins trending higher, profits will follow suit.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are looking for Intel to earn 19 cents a share on revenue of $7.2 billion in the third quarter.

The raised estimate comes one day after Intel CEO Craig Barrett was reported saying he'd seen evidence of improving personal-computer sales.

Shares of Intel were gaining $1.41, or 5%, to $27.80 in Instinet trading before the opening bell. The news also lifted


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