Updated from Nov. 5

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

posted solid fourth-quarter earnings and nudged fiscal 2004 guidance northward.

On Thursday morning, the company's shares rose 1% in a mostly flat market.

The San Diego-based wireless chipmaker said that for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, earnings were $291 million, or 35 cents a share, on revenue of $909 million, compared to a profit of $190.3 million or 23 cents a share on sales of $874 million in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding the company's strategic ventures unit, QSI, earnings were 29 cents a share on revenue of $870 million. Those figures are in line with the Thomson First Call consensus estimate and compare with the year-ago earnings of 31 cents on sales of $840 million.

Looking forward, the company said it would earn 37 to 40 cents a share for its first quarter (exclusive of QSI) -- slightly north of the 36-cent Wall Street estimate, and $1.40 for all of fiscal 2004, in line with the consensus. Revenue in the first quarter will be up between 16% and 22% sequentially, and down 1% to 6% for the year, the company said. Analysts had expected first-quarter revenue to increase by 13%.

Qualcomm expects to ship 27 million or 28 million MSM chipsets in the December quarter, a sequential increase of 35% to 40%.

Ahead of the postclose report, Qualcomm shares slid 65 cents to $46.67, but climbed to $47.09 after hours.

"We could very well see some positive surprises in the future," said Scott Rothbort, a

Street Insight

contributor and president of LakeView Asset Management. Although he holds a short position in the stock, Rothbort was bullish after management's earnings call, saying he believed management's forecast was a little conservative.

On Sept. 15, Qualcomm

updated its fourth-quarter financial forecast, guiding expectations to the high end of its previous range. But the bliss was fleeting as the company adjusted down its much-watched advanced MSM chipset shipment totals to 20 million, flat with year-ago levels and down 13% from the 23 million shipped in the previous quarter.

Handset royalties were expected to be about $202 million in the fourth quarter and increase to $213 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. The company now expects 106 to 108 million CDMA phones to ship worldwide in calendar year 2003.

That market will grow to 131 million to 136 million units in fiscal 2004, but average selling prices will drop by about 8%, after dropping 2% in 2003.

Qualcomm shares rose 44 cents to $47.03 Thursday.