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Analog Wins Some, Loses Some

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Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI  ) keeps chugging along, regardless of economic worries.

In its fiscal third quarter, the little broad-line chip maker that could reported $0.44 of earnings per share from continuing operations, up from $0.38 a year ago, on 7% higher revenue of $659 million. CEO Jerry Fishman gave props to his company's diverse product portfolio that lets one end of the business pick up when another slacks off.

Analog's strongest market this time was the automotive industry, with particularly strong orders from overseas carmakers. Higher sales of automotive control chips, air bag controllers, and high-end entertainment solutions -- up 26% compared to last year -- is not too shabby, considering that automotive companies like General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) are struggling and even mighty Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) has slowed down.

That performance speaks highly of Analog's market share and mind share in the transportation industry, possibly stealing orders from rivals like Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) and National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM  ) . That's great news to Mr. Fishman, because his wireless communications segment is flagging so badly that Analog decided to sell off its baseband and handset radio chip lines to Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek a couple of quarters ago. Tit for tat, like I said.

As for growth drivers for the next few quarters, Fishman stayed coy. "It's very hard to predict the future," he said. "We get a little bit of growth from a lot of places," and he thinks that will be the model for the foreseeable future. "We have so many products in so many markets, no one particular segment moves it very much," he said.

So if you ever see Analog's sales derailing badly, you know that we're in for some tough times as chips of every flavor suddenly go out of style. That didn't happen this quarter, and the rumors of the end of the world still sound like an exaggeration. Thanks for being my personal global economy barometer, Analog. And good luck next quarter.

Further Foolishness:

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is what separates us from the primates. Opposable thumbs are way overrated.

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