Intel's forecast misses on slowing data centre business

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Intel's forecast misses on slowing data centre business

Intel forecast current-quarter revenue and profit below analysts' estimates and missed on fourth-quarter sales expectations on Thursday, hit by a slowdown in China and sluggish demand for its data centre and modem chips.

The company's shares fell 7.7 percent in extended trading and also undid part of a chip stock rally earlier in the day following better-than-feared quarterly results from a clutch of companies such as Texas Instruments, Xilinx and Lam Research.

Smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which reports results next Tuesday, dropped two percent, while Nvidia fell one percent.

Sales warnings from Apple, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Co earlier this month had pointed to stagnating smartphone demand and a cooling Chinese economy.

Reports that Apple is reducing planned production for its three new iPhone models by about 10 percent for the January-March quarter weighed on Intel, which has replaced Qualcomm as the sole supplier of modem chips for the newer phones.

Intel forecast first-quarter revenue of US$16 billion and adjusted earnings of 87 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting revenue of US$17.35 billion and a profit of US$1.01 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

"The macro environment does not look good at the moment and if it gets worse, Intel could see a further downside to its outlook," said Kinngai Chan, an analyst with Summit Insights Group.

Intel has turned to the server chips it supplies data centre operators for growth in recent years. However, fourth-quarter revenue in that higher-margin business came in at US$6.07 billion, below expectations of US$6.35 billion, according to financial and data analytics firm FactSet.

The company said data centre missed expectations "on softer China demand" and "cloud deceleration".

Revenue in the company's client computing business, which includes sales to PC makers was US$9.82 billion, missing FactSet estimates of US$10.01 billion.

Intel reported net income of US$5.20 billion, or US$1.12 per share, for the fourth-quarter ended 29 December, compared with a loss of US$687 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net revenue rose to $18.66 billion from $17.05 billion, but missed estimates of $19.01 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.28 per share, above expectations of $1.22.

(Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru and and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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