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Updated from 4:46 p.m. EDT



, the world's largest semiconductor maker, reported a 52% increase in its third-quarter earnings Thursday, exceeding Wall Street's lowered forecasts.

Moreover, Intel's closely watched revenue for the quarter rose 19%, reaching the top of the company's reduced projections.

The results initially pleased investors, who bid Intel's stock up more than $1 in after-hours trading, to $37.50.

The results come less than a month after the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company

warned that its third-quarter revenue would fall short of analysts' expectations, primarily because of weak demand in Europe.

But analysts noted that the company was experiencing softer sales in North America as well. "It was the U.S. that was weak," said David Wu, analyst for

ABN Amro

. (He rates the stock neutral, and his firm has not done recent underwriting for the company.) "What they said earlier and what they reported are different things."

Excluding acquisition-related costs, Intel reported that its earnings rose to $2.9 billion, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 38 cents a share in the latest quarter, according to a consensus estimate of analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. Still, the earnings met analysts' initial forecast of 41 cents a share, which was lowered after Intel warned of lagging revenues.

Net income for the quarter, including acquisition-related costs, rose 72% to $2.51 billion, or 36 cents a diluted share, from $1.46 billion, or 21 cents a share, in the third quarter of 1999.

Revenue for the third quarter totaled $8.73 billion, compared with $7.32 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Intel forecast on Sept. 21 that its third-quarter revenue would be about 3% to 5% higher than the $8.3 billion that it reported in the second quarter, or about $8.5 billion to $8.7 billion. Before the company's warning, many Wall Street analysts had expected Intel to report revenue of about $9 billion.

While European sales fell to 22% of Intel's total revenue in the third quarter from 26% in the year-earlier quarter, that percentage was unchanged from the second quarter. In the Americas, however, sales accounted for 42% the company's revenue in the latest quarter, compared with 43% in the second quarter and 45% in the third quarter of 1999.

Meanwhile, Japanese sales were unchanged from the prior quarter at 9% of revenue, compared with 6% a year earlier, while Asia-Pacific sales edged up to 27% of revenue, compared with 26% last quarter and 23% last year.

Intel reported its earnings after the stock market close, and its shares ended regular trading Tuesday up 50 cents, or 1%, at $36.19. The chipmaker's stock is down 52% from its 52-week high of $75.81, reached on Aug. 28, with much of that decline coming from a sharp selloff after the company warned in September of the weaker revenue.