updated 7/20/2004 5:58:53 PM ET 2004-07-20T21:58:53

Computer chip maker Texas Instruments Inc. said profits more than tripled from a year ago, meeting Wall Street expectations, as demand increased for its products in a range of electronic gadgets.

TI, which makes chips for more than half the world's mobile phones, said it earned $441 million, or 25 cents per share, in the April-June quarter, compared to $121 million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected TI to earn 25 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson First Call. The company had signaled in June that it would earn 24 cents to 26 cents per share.

Revenue was $3.24 billion, up 39 percent from $2.34 billion a year ago, when the semiconductor industry was still mired in a three-year slump. Analysts had predicted $3.23 billion -- again, the midline of the company's own forecast in June.

The company said sales were driven by strong demand for a broad range of electronic devices.

Chief executive Rich Templeton declared that 2004 "is on course to be a very strong year."

Templeton said semiconductor revenue was at an all-time high and operating profit was approaching a record.

Shares of TI had gained 83 cents or 4 percent, to close at $21.76, in trading before the report was released. They gained 14 cents in extended trading.

The shares hit a 52-week high of $33.98 in January but have dropped about 36 percent since then, hurt by weakness at TI's biggest customer, Finnish cellular phone maker Nokia.

Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch have downgraded TI shares this month -- the latter to an unusual "sell" rating. However, some analysts think the shares have been oversold, and Deutsche Bank recently raised its rating to "buy" from "hold."

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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