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Intel CEO Robert Swan on how to build on its best quarter ever


Intel CEO Robert Swan told CNBC he’s confident the technology giant will continue its strong performance in final months of the year, building off its best quarter ever.

Shares of Intel were up more than 7% on Friday. The company posted third-quarter revenues of $19.19 billion, surpassing Wall Street expectations by more than $1 billion, and raised its full-year outlook.

“The tailwinds we see are relatively strong,” Swan told CNBC’s Jon Fortt.

Intel, a Dow component, helped the index rise about .6% on Friday, putting it just below the 27,000 mark.

Swan, who became permanent CEO in January after seven months as interim, said renewed demand from cloud service providers not only buoyed Intel’s third quarter, but it will also carry over for the rest of the year.

“What we’ve experienced, though, is big purchases that then get digested over time,” Swan said. “And I think this quarter, in Q3, has been really the first in three quarters where we saw, particularly the cloud service providers, come back and start to place demands for high-performance compute again.”

“We saw a bit of a resurgence for demand in the third quarter, and that’s what gives us optimism for a real strong fourth quarter as well,” Swan said.

Swan said his optimism prevails despite the fact Intel had about $200 million worth of “pull-ins” in the third quarter. A “pull-in” is when sales that had been scheduled for future quarters are brought into the current quarter.

Those “pull-ins” came from trade-related demands, Intel’s CFO George S. Davis said on an earnings call.

“We still expect the fourth quarter to be stronger than what we thought back in the July time frame,” Swan said.

Overall, Swan said Intel has benefited from what he called an “insatiable demand for data.”

“The compute, the storage and the transmission of that data, those signs are very positive and they’ve been positive for a while,” Swan said. “And we don’t expect digital transformation, both in the lives of consumers and in the lives of businesses to change.”

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