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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 22:23 GMT 23:23 UK
Tech investors get mixed news
IBM personal computer
IBM posted "solid results"
Computer giant IBM has given tech investors a boost by reporting better-than-expected results for the July to September quarter.

The firms said profit, excluding operations which it is in the process of selling, rose to $1.7bn for the three month period.

But there was gloomier news from Apple Computer which reported its first net loss for nearly two years.

And chip maker AMD announced that its third-quarter losses had more than doubled from a year ago.

'Solid results' from IBM

IBM said net earnings fell to $1.31bn, or 76 cents a share, compared with $1.6bn, 90 cents a share last year.

But these figures included its hard disk drive business which it is selling to Hitachi.

Excluding that business, earnings came in at 99 cents a share, above the expected figure of about 96 cents.

IBM's revenue from its ongoing operations rose slightly to $19.8bn from $19.78bn in the same period last year.

Revenue from services grew, while hardware and software revenue declined.

"We are encouraged by the solid results the IBM team produced this quarter," said IBM president and chief executive Samuel Palmisano.

"In this difficult economic environment, we delivered a good revenue performance and grew EPS (earnings per share). In addition, we gained share and momentum in key businesses."

Shares in IBM had fallen $3.58 to $64.90 ahead of the results, but in after-hours trade they rose by $1.60.

Apple struggles

Apple, the company renowned for distinctive designs such as its iMac computer, reported a net loss of $45m for the quarter ending in September, which is the fourth of the company's financial year.

Apple's iPod is selling well
Revenue slipped slightly to $1.44bn compared with $1.45bn a year before.

Excluding one-off items, Apple's operating profit came in at 2 cents per share, which was in line with analysts' expectations.

Apple's iPod digital music player gave the company some cheer as the company shipped 140,000 of them during the quarter.

But the company warned that it did not expect the computer industry to see storng sales over the Christmas holiday season.

"We do not expect our industry to pick up anytime soon, though we're hoping to put a lot of iPods, IMacs and iBooks under trees this holiday season," said Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs.

Apple said it expected to report a "slight" first-quarter profit before one-off items, on increased sales.

The company's shares fell to $13.68 in after-hours trade from their close on Nasdaq at $14.56.

Chip loss

Losses at chip maker AMD more than doubled to $254.2m, or 74 cents a share, from $97.4m in the same period last year.

Revenue dropped to $508.2m from $765.9m.

AMD had warned earlier this month that the weak market for personal computers would hit revenues.

The company is also facing tough competition from rival chip maker Intel, which posted disappointing results on Tuesday.

But looking forward, AMD forecast that sales would pick up in the next quarter leading to a significantly reduced operating loss.

AMD shares had fallen back on Wednesday, but the upbeat outlook for the next few months helped their shares rise to $3.56 from $3.49 in after-hours trade.

See also:

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