Intel And Microsoft Hit 12- And 14-Year Highs On Strength Of Improving PC Market

We’re apparently in the pre-Post PC market.

The PC market has almost stabilized, and its re-found salubrity is helping players in the space. Intel and Microsoft both notched big gains today in the wake of Intel’s positive earnings report that came after the bell yesterday.

Intel rose 9.27 percent during regular trading, pushing its market capitalization to $172.28 billion. That’s Intel’s strongest close since the start of 2002.

The company’s $13.8 billion in revenue, and $0.55 in earnings per share were supported by its PC division posting 6 percent year-over-year revenue growth. That division generates more than half of Intel’s revenue.

Intel’s results were not too surprising — the company had previously raised its guidance, and the PC market itself had already demonstrated strength, or at least what passes for strength for the PC market.

Data for the PC market in the second quarter of this year showed either a very modest decline, 1.7 percent, or a small rise, 0.1 percent, in global PC shipments. Hardly stellar numbers, but after endless quarters in the red, the period was a welcome respite for personal computers and their progenitors.

The PC market is currently moving units at around the 300 million per-year mark, or around 822,000 per day.

Microsoft, which reports its earnings on Monday, picked up a more modest 3.84 percent in value today, closing just above the $44 mark. That’s Microsofts’ highest close since 2000. Microsoft’s gain today was partially due to Intel’s strong earnings, implying that the Redmond-based software company’s Windows division will have a strong quarter. It was also likely influenced by the rumors of impending layoffs which could ease the company’s operating expenses in the wake of absorbing tens of thousands of Nokia employees.

The PC market may not be done shrinking, it’s worth remembering. A few stronger quarters led by the Windows XP end-of-service date and perhaps a decent holiday cycle would not indicate new long-term weight in personal computer sales. So let’s not get too far ahead of a potential trend.

But it’s still an interesting day. Once more round the sun.