As earnings season gained steam this week, headlines in tech were rampant. But these three stories stood above the rest. Intel (INTC 5.84%) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, Twitter (TWTR) jumped on rumors that it could get acquired, and one analyst second guessed the Street's optimistic view for Apple's (AAPL 1.41%) guidance.
Here's what investors should know about these stories.
Investors applaud Intel earnings
Intel pleased investors on Thursday when it reported strong revenue and non-GAAP earnings-per-share growth. The company reported record fourth-quarter revenue of $17.1 billion, up 8% year over year when excluding McAfee. This brought Intel's full-year revenue to $62.8 billion, up 9% year over year when excluding McAfee.
Intel's non-GAAP earnings per share for the quarter were $0.79, up 37% year over year. Full-year non-GAAP earnings per share were $2.72, up 28% year over year.
The quarter was helped by particularly strong growth in its data-centric businesses, where revenue climbed 21% year over year. Intel CFO Bob Swan had the following to say about the quarter:
The fourth quarter was an outstanding finish to another record year. Compared to the expectations we set, our revenue was stronger, our operating margins were higher, and our spending was lower. Intel's PC-centric business continued to execute well in a declining market while the growth of our data-centric businesses shows Intel's transformation is on track.
In response to the solid earnings, shares climbed about 11% on Friday.
Twitter buyout rumors
On the heels of a report from Citron Research, Twitter stock popped about 10% Friday. The stock-commentary website, which is long on Twitter, said it had a price target of $35 for the stock. In addition, Citron said it believes Chinese internet company Tencent will buy the social network.
The report comes ahead of Twitter's fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 8.
Even after Twitter stock's jump on Friday, it trades at $24.27 -- well below Citron's price target for the stock.
Looking to Apple's second quarter
In light of Apple's recent launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, the company's guidance for its first quarter is arguably conservative. The midpoint of Apple's guidance range implies just 9% year-over-year revenue growth in Q1.
But the Street's view for Apple's second-quarter revenue, or the metric investors may use as a barometer about what to expect from management's guidance for the quarter when Apple reports its first-quarter results, could be getting ahead of itself. BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said there's not enough evidence for investors to expect the $68 billion in second-quarter revenue pegged by the current consensus analyst estimate. Second-quarter revenue at this level would imply year-over-year revenue growth of about 28% -- a sharp acceleration compared to the 9% growth Apple's guidance calls for in Q1.
Piecyk expects (via Tech Trader Daily) second-quarter revenue "as low as $60 billion."
Apple reports its earnings on Thursday, Feb. 1, after market close.