updated 8/28/2009 11:21:35 AM ET 2009-08-28T15:21:35

Intel Corp. raised its third-quarter revenue forecast above Wall Street's expectations Friday, citing strong demand for its chips and giving another signal that business is improving for one of the world's biggest technology companies.

Intel's shares rose 4 percent in pre-market trading.

The leading maker of computer microprocessors said it now expects sales of $8.8 billion to $9.2 billion. Its last guidance, which came July 14, was for revenue in the range of $8.1 billion to $8.9 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $8.55 billion in revenue before Friday.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also said it expects the quarter's gross profit margin to be in the upper half of the range it previously forecast.

Intel had already signaled in July that its business was on the mend after a difficult downturn and the PC industry's worst stretch since 2001. The company's second-quarter sales were well past Wall Street's expectations, and its guidance for the current quarter was better than what analysts were predicting at the time.

Although Intel said Friday demand for its products is strong, the implications for the struggling personal-computer business are unclear.

The company's sales exceeded expectations in the last quarter partly because PC makers needed to restock their chip inventories after letting them run lower than normal to save money.

And Dell Inc., the world's No. 2 PC maker, said Thursday as it reported quarterly earnings that while consumers are showing more signs of coming back to stores to buy PCs, corporations are still holding off. Dell said it might not see a significant turnaround in tech spending by businesses until next year.

Intel shares rose 77 cents to $20.24 in premarket trading.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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