2013 wasn't exactly kind to chip giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

All said, the world's largest semiconductor maker would just as soon turn the page to what should be hopefully prove a more successful 2014.

However, in order to get there, Intel must report its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. 

Tale of the tape
Intel's share have actually performed quite well over the last month, rising just about 10%.

Intel Logo

Source: Intel.

 After the worst year perhaps ever for it, the outlook for the global PC market is substantially more positive in the year ahead (although still not great). However, the improving climate in the PC market, as well as some positive press coming out of the recent CES, once again has some investors eyeing a comeback for Intel in 2014.

The frustrating truth is that Intel's outlook is somewhat muddled heading into Thursday's earnings. In the video below, tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner breaks down the key numbers and story lines that investors should be on the lookout for in Intel's fourth-quarter earnings. Investors would do well to avoid getting ahead of themselves here. As we look toward its Q4 earnings, it's worth remembering that Intel remains sadly levered to the personal computer market, which shrank between 6% and 7% in the quarter.

Fool contributor Andrew Tonner has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.