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The Way TI Plays, Everybody Wins

If business were a game show, Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) would be winning.

The semiconductor giant updated its near-term outlook last night, trimming a bit more off the bottom end of the estimates than the top. That's like a Deal or No Deal competitor picking off the million-dollar prize in the same round as the one-penny and one-dollar briefcases. In the game show, the next deal offer would be a few dollars higher -- for TI, its share price has grown about 3% since the update.

Mind you, we're not talking about large outlook changes here. The new earnings range -- from continuing operations -- stretches from $0.50 per share to $0.54, whereas the old guidance reached down to $0.48. The Wall Street consensus still lies comfortably within the updated outlook.

A company spokesman said the mainline products are doing well, including analog signal converters and wireless chips. That's despite Ericsson's (Nasdaq: ERIC  ) decision to start sourcing wireless baseband chips from multiple sources rather than pulling all its needs from TI, and the analog strength underscores reports from competitors that point to a gadget-happy Santa Claus.

While the Dallas dandy obviously reaped the fattest reward for these positive notes, the competition enjoyed it, too. Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI  ) , National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM  ) , and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) are all doing better today then they were last night, despite the markets heading south earlier today.

And it's good news for some less obvious businesses, too -- if the chip makers are selling plenty of signal processor chips, it means device builders like Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) or Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) are building trinkets around them and expecting to sell plenty of those this holiday season. If they're right, then perhaps the subprime crash and oil price crisis don't mean as much as we thought.

In other words, we're all winners. Thank you, TI.

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