What happened

Microchip giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was having a nice October. Share prices gained 8.6% in the first four weeks, leading up to the third-quarter earnings release. After crushing that report, the stock closed another 7.4% higher the next day and never looked back. All in all, Intel investors enjoyed a 19.5% return in October 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

A technician holding an Intel Xeon server chip over a large motherboard.

Image source: Intel.

So what

In the third quarter, Intel's top-line sales rose 2.4% year over year to $16.1 billion. Further down the income statement, adjusted earnings jumped 26% higher, landing at $1.01 per diluted share. Analysts would have settled for earnings of $0.80 per share on revenue near $15.7 billion. Fourth-quarter earnings guidance also arrived near the top end of then-current analyst projections.

Now what

The company also closed its $15 billion buyout of self-driving car technologist Mobileye during the third quarter, ensuring that the company takes part in this exciting industry as it evolves over the next decade. While Mobileye's business remains too small to move Intel's needle very far at this point, the revenue and earnings surprises rested on other high-growth markets named neither "PC systems" nor "data center servers." We're talking about high-speed memory chips and hyperspecialized processors for artificial intelligence systems here, hardly the stuff Intel is known for.

This venerable business is still going places, and the third-quarter report drove share prices up to levels not seen since the dot-com boom and bust in the summer of 2000. I'm a happy shareholder these days, and have no plans to liquidate or shrink my Intel holdings.

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