What happened

Shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) soared on Friday, rising 8.3% as of 2:40 p.m. Eastern time, and reaching prices not seen since the dot-com bubble. A rock-solid earnings report provided fuel for the fire.

So what

Intel's third-quarter revenues rose 2.4% year over year, landing at $16.1 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings increased by 26% to stop at $1.01 per diluted share. Analysts had been looking for earnings of roughly $0.80 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $15.7 billion.

Looking ahead, Intel's management guided fourth-quarter revenues to approximately $16.1 billion and non-GAAP earnings to $0.86 per share. The sales target was in line with the average Wall Street view, while the earnings goal is in line with the highest available estimates from an analyst group composed of 32 different firms.

A technician, wearing safety goggles, holds up a microchip with a pair of stainless steel tweezers.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

This is not the Intel of old, where desktop PCs and data center servers amounted to the company's entire business plan. In the third quarter, Intel closed the $15 billion buyout of autonomous vehicle technologist Mobileye. The strongest growth drivers on tap came from progressive sectors like high-speed digital storage chips and specialized artificial intelligence processors. The company is exploring quantum computing solutions and neural network processors right now, laying the groundwork for a flexible long-term business plan.

It's been a while since Intel looked this healthy, and investors are taking notice of the improvements.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.