Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Intel revenue forecast beats, but stock falls

intel Top chipmaker Intel Corp forecast revenue above expectations, as demand for personal computers remained resilient in the face of consumers' growing preference for tablets and other mobile gadgets.

But investors, accustomed to Intel's beating forecasts, sold the company's stock, which had rallied 17 percent this year, following the news.

Shaky economies in Europe and the United States, a growing consumer preference for tablets, and a recent shortage of hard drives due to flooding in Thailand have taken a toll on the PC industry.

Still, demand in China and other emerging economies has helped sustain PC growth, and Intel's server business has been a winner from the buildout of servers behind the Internet and data consumed on smartphones.

"Given the topline is slightly better than expected, it doesn't seem like there's a meaningful impact from tablets right now. The PC market is holding up pretty well," said Srini Pajjuri, an analyst at CLSA.

Despite weakness in the United States, global PC shipments in the first quarter grew 1.9 percent from the year-ago period, research firm Gartner said last week. That was better than the firm's previous forecast of a 1.2 percent decline.

Hoping to safeguard its position in PCs, Intel is heavily promoting a new class of instant-on, super-thin laptops dubbed "ultrabooks" that it hopes can stand up to the likes of Apple Inc's Macbook Air, with some of the technological chic the iPad and other tablets epitomize.

An upcoming launch of Intel's newest PC processor, called Ivy Bridge, is expected to boost the company's sales later this year, as is the launch of Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 operating system later in 2012.

Intel has struggled to find a foothold in smartphones and tablets, where processors based on ARM Holdings' power-efficient chip designs are widely used.

But Intel has recently shown some encouraging signs with announcements that its newest processors would be used in a handful of upcoming smartphones.

Many investors are waiting to see how successful the new handsets become with consumers before declaring the chipmaker a serious player in the mobile market. But growing expectations that Intel will be able to compete in mobile have fueled some of the gain in its shares in recent months.

The long-time technology bellwether said revenue in the current quarter would be $13.6 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Analysts on average had expected $13.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Ahead of Intel's earnings report, some analysts said they were optimistic the company would beat their own estimates.


Intel's stock trades at 11 times earnings, after a 17 percent gain so far this year.

The long-awaited Windows 8 is expected to cause a jump in PC sales, but the operating system will be Microsoft's first version of Windows that is compatible with chips designed by ARM Holdings, a rival of Intel.

Intel could face new competition in low-end PCs from companies like Nvidia Corp and Qualcomm.

The world's leading chipmaker said revenue in the first quarter was $12.9 billion, up from $12.85 billion in the year-ago period and a bit higher than the $12.85 billion expected.

GAAP net income in the first quarter was $2.74 billion, down from $3.16 billion in the year-ago period.

GAAP earnings per share were 53 cents, better than the 50 cents expected.

Intel said non-GAAP gross margins in the second quarter would be 63 percent, plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Despite the relatively upbeat outlook, shares of Intel fell 2.81 percent in extended trade after closing up 0.23 percent at $28.47 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting By Noel Randewich; Editing by Richard Chang)

Khloe Kardashian Counters Pregnancy Announcement From Lamar Odom's Dad

kardashian-odom-2011-teen-choice-awards-02 Lamar Odom's father, Joe, told a website that Khloe Kardashian is having a bun in the oven. Either Joe is lying or Khloe is trying to keep the good news for a while, but a representative of the reality star denied the pregnancy.

Telling Rumor Fix, Joe said excitedly, "I got a little news. I'm about ready to have a grandchild!" Khloe and Lamar have been married for three years and all the while they have been trying to have a baby. "I know he's excited. They've been trying to do this for a couple of years. We're all excited," Joe added.

Joe was so sure of this baby that he said, "Ain't nothing but a newborn thoroughbred. This is all lamb chop baby!" However, a representative told Rumor Fix that the pregnancy report is not true. Both Khloe and Lamar also remain quiet about it on Twitter.

The couple doesn't really talk much about their trouble in having child. Last year Khloe told Us Weekly, "It takes time, I guess, I don't know. I don't know what the problem is."


Secret Service clearances yanked in Colombia probe

obama-news-conference-colombia-story-top The Secret Service has yanked the security clearances of 11 members accused of bringing prostitutes to a hotel in Colombia ahead of last week's pan-American summit, government officials with knowledge of the investigation said Monday.

The investigation also involves at least five and possibly 10 U.S. military personnel who were working with the Secret Service ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas. They are accused of bringing prostitutes to their Cartagena hotel Wednesday night, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday his personnel "let the boss down" with their conduct.

The Secret Service agents and officers involved range in experience from relative newcomers to nearly 20-year veterans, and all have been interviewed at least once, two government officials with knowledge of the probe told CNN. Their security clearances have been pulled while an investigation is under way and could be reinstated if they are cleared, the officials said.

Most if not all arrived in Cartagena on Wednesday, two days before Obama, and went out for drinks in several groups after arrival, the officials said.

The agency, which is responsible for presidential security, has briefed key congressional leaders on the investigation so far. Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that he believed 11 prostitutes were brought back to the hotel.

Over the weekend, King told CNN that one of the women refused to leave a hotel room Thursday morning. A hotel manager tried to get in the room, and eventually the woman emerged and said "they owed her money," according to King.

U.S. government sources also said there was a dispute between at least one Secret Service member and a woman demanding payment. At least one of the women brought to the hotel talked with police, and complaints were filed with the U.S. Embassy, the sources said.

The alleged misconduct occurred before Obama arrived in Cartagena, but the news broke while he was there. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday that the incident distracted attention "from what was a very important regional engagement for our president."

"So we let the boss down, because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident," Dempsey said.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Committee, said he met with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan on Monday and said Sullivan was "shocked" by the accusations.

"This is an organization with a great history, a history of being disciplined," Issa, R-California, told CNN's "John King USA." But he said earlier that "to assume that 11 people did something on a one-time basis is a little bit questionable."

For 11 people to violate a basic security premise indicates a larger problem, Issa said.

The Americans don't seem to have broken the law in Colombia, where soliciting prostitutes is legal in some parts of the country, he said. But the congressman -- a leading Obama administration critic -- said the conduct could have posed a security risk to the president by exposing Secret Service agents to blackmail.

"What's legal in one country still could lead to a married man being blackmailed," he said.

Speaking at the end of the summit on Sunday, Obama called for a "thorough" and "rigorous" investigation into the allegations.

"We're representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards," he said. "Obviously, what's been reported doesn't match up with those standards." But he added, "I'll wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass final judgment."

The Pentagon said Monday that the misconduct involved more service members than the five initially believed. Pentagon spokesman George Little could not say how many more might be involved, but he indicated the personnel might come from more than one branch of the military. Pentagon officials had originally thought only Army personnel were involved.

"We believe there may be more than five," Little said Monday. All were expected to return to the United States on Monday.

Little said the personnel were not directly involved in presidential security and did not have any contact with Obama. He defined their role as in "support" of the Secret Service.

Because presidential security was the overall mission, however, it is not clear whether the Pentagon will ever publicly describe what the military personnel were doing as part of their work in Colombia or what branches of the military they belonged to.

An officer who was already in Colombia gathered initial facts, according to Little. A more senior officer was leaving for Colombia on Monday to continue the investigation.

Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said the agents were relieved of duty Thursday, before the president's arrival in Colombia. The agency's assistant director, Paul Morrissey, noted his agency's "zero tolerance policy on personal misconduct."

"This incident is not reflective of the behavior of our personnel as they travel every day throughout the country and the world performing their duties in a dedicated, professional manner," Morrissey said Saturday. "We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused."


Norway killer on trial: "I would have done it again"

Anders-Behring-Breivik The Norwegian anti-Islamic gunman who massacred 77 people said in court on Tuesday his shooting spree and bomb attack were "sophisticated and spectacular" and that he would do the same thing again.

Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has pleaded not guilty and said he was defending his country by setting off a car bomb that killed eight people at government headquarters in Oslo last July, then shooting another 69 people at a youth summer camp organized by the ruling Labour Party.

Taking the stand at his trial for the first time, the high school drop-out read from a statement for an hour, ignoring pleas from the judge to stop and sparking criticism from victims he was being allowed to use the trial for violent propaganda.

The killer, a former business fraudster who lived with his mother, invoked Native American warriors such as Sitting Bull, raged against Islam and multicultural "hell" and warned of "rivers of blood" in Europe.

"I have carried out the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack committed in Europe since the Second World War," Breivik told the court in a monotonous, unemotional voice, seated with one hand on his papers and another on his leg.

"The July 22 attacks were preemptive attacks to defend the Norwegian people and the Norwegian ethnicity."

"Yes, I would have done it again, because offences against my people ... are many times as bad," he said.

His attacks were "based on goodness, not evil," he added.

While he will likely be kept behind bars for the rest of his life, Breivik's main objective is to prove he is sane, a court judgment that he sees as vindicating his anti-Muslim and anti-immigration cause.

He has said being labeled insane would be a "fate worse than death".

If found guilty and sane, Breivik faces a maximum 21-year sentence but could be held indefinitely if he is considered a continuing danger. If declared insane, he would go to a psychiatric institution indefinitely with periodic reviews.

Before Tuesday's statement, Breivik had promised to be sensitive to victims and tone down his rhetoric. But the court audience, including survivors, shifted in their chairs, rolled their eyes, and murmured with impatience during his speech.

He ignored the repeated pleas of an angry judge to stop talking. When Breivik started talking about Japan and South Korea as role models, the judge asked him "to limit himself to Norwegian issues."

Breivik's testimony, which will go on for five days, will not be broadcast on television due to concerns that the gunman could use the trial as propaganda for his violent cause.

"He is getting what he wants and I don't want to be a part of that," survivor Hildegunn Fallang said.

The day began in controversy when the court dismissed a lay judge because he posted a comment on a Facebook page days after the massacre saying the gunman should face the death penalty.

Two professional judges, as well as three lay judges chosen from civil society, preside over the court. The judge, who will be replaced, posted "The death penalty is the only just outcome of this case" on a Facebook page.


Breivik appeared for the first time in court on Monday, giving a clenched-fist salute, smirking at the court and pleading not guilty in a trial that threatens to showcase his anti-Islamic views.

Breivik listened impassively for hours as prosecutors read out an indictment detailing how he massacred teenagers trapped on a island resort outside Oslo. He only shed tears when the court later showed one of his propaganda videos.

Breivik shot most of his victims several times, often using the first shot to take down his target then following up with a shot to the head. His youngest victim was 14. He later surrendered as "commander of the Norwegian resistance movement".

The trial is scheduled to last 10 weeks.

More than 200 people sat in the specially built courtroom while about 700 attack survivors and family members of victims watched on closed-circuit video around the country.

His defense team has called 29 witnesses to argue Breivik was sane, including Mullah Krekar, the Kurdish founder of Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, who was recently jailed in Norway for making death threats, and "Fjordman", a right-wing blogger who influenced Breivik.

Breivik is scheduled to testify for about a week.

Last July 22, he set off the bomb in the centre of Oslo before heading to the youth camp on Utoeya, an island in a lake 40 km (25 miles) outside the capital, gunning down his victims while police took more than an hour to get to the site in the chaos following the bomb blast.

Disguised as a police officer, Breivik managed to lure some of his victims out of hiding, saying help had arrived. Other victims jumped into the lake, where he shot them in the water.

"Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase," Breivik wrote in a manual for future attackers, part of a 1,500-page manifesto he posted online. "Your trial offers you a stage to the world."

An initial psychiatric evaluation concluded that Breivik was criminally insane while a second, completed in the past week, found no evidence of psychosis. Resolving this conflict could be the five-judge panel's major decision.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Klesty and Terje Solsvik, Writing by Alistair Scrutton, Editing by Anna Willard)

Yahoo taps PayPal exec for new commerce group

yahoo Yahoo Inc hired PayPal's former head of products to help oversee its newly-formed commerce group, as the Web pioneer looks for new ways to reignite growth.

Yahoo said on Monday that Sam Shrauger will co-lead the consumer commerce business, along with Mollie Spilman, who most recently led marketing in Yahoo's Americas region.

The announcement fills an important slot in the management reorganization unveiled last week by Yahoo Chief Executive Scott Thompson, the former President of PayPal, a unit of eBay Inc.

The commerce group is one of three businesses, along with media and connectivity products, that Thompson folded under Yahoo's flagship consumer products division in the reorganization that takes effect on May 1.

The commerce group includes a variety of existing Yahoo online properties, including real estate and job listings, and will include unspecified new offerings, Yahoo said.

Yahoo, which reports its first-quarter financial results on Tuesday, earlier this month announced plans to layoff 2,000 employees, or 14 percent of its staff.

Shares of Yahoo were down one cent at $14.78 in after hours trading on Monday.

(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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