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Prudential Securities expects



fourth-quarter revenue to come in at the high end of its previously stated range when it reports earnings next week.

The brokerage raised its price target to $22 from $21 and maintained a neutral rating on the stock. The shares rose 13 cents, or 0.6%, to $23.20 in early trading.

"Our recent channel checks indicate that demand for PC microprocessors remained strong through December," the brokerage wrote. Prudential put Intel's fourth-quarter revenue at $9.5 billion, the high end of the $9.3 billion to $9.5 billion range the company gave last month.

Analysts expect Intel to earn 31 cents a share on revenue of $9.41 billion in the quarter.

Prudential also expects Intel to make further progress on reducing the inventory overhang that ate into its 2004 profits, cutting outstanding days product to the mid-60s from 76 in the previous quarter. But the drawdown could be imbalanced.

"Our analysis of motherboard and notebook sales data suggests the potential for near-term strength on the desktop side, but the possibility of an inventory build in notebook microprocessors," Prudential wrote.