Nice going, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). The computer chipmaker delivered healthy first-quarter results after the market closed yesterday. Revenue climbed 9% higher to $9.7 billion, while operating profits soared 23% higher to $2.1 billion.

Things got rocky after that, with reported profitability falling by 11% over last year to $0.25 a share, but that was the result of a larger tax hit this time around and a $0.04-per-share hit for restructuring and asset impairment charges.

Throw it all into a blender, hit "frappe," and you've got one tasty smoothie, stale flash-memory fragments and all. Yes, the company's flash-memory business is still in a funk, but its flagship computer microprocessors are selling briskly. That's welcome news for investors of PC makers such as Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), who view Intel as a good indicator of the industry's health.

That's what Intel's report typically amounts to, anyway. Even if you don't own Intel, the company's numbers and guidance are enough to lift or sink the tech sector. It passed the buoyancy test last night, especially with its fairly upbeat outlook. Intel is looking to generate between $9 billion and $9.6 billion in the current quarter. That translates into a sequential dip, but the midpoint is just ahead of the $9.2 billion that Wall Street has been projecting. With Intel expecting gross margins to improve sequentially during the second quarter -- and even more in the second half of the year -- this bellwether is starting to sound more like a dinner bell for tech investors hungry for good news. 

It will certainly go down better than that flash-chip smoothie you're now spitting out.

News to go
Shares of biotech upstart CV Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CVTX) soared last night after the company struck a deal with TPG-Axon Capital that will generate as much as $185 million in exchange for half of its North American royalties related to CV's Lexiscan. The injection recently received FDA approval as a stress agent for immobile patients. It's great to see this Rule Breakers recommendation climbing as it raises some welcome greenbacks. Unfortunately, the victory will be bittersweet if Lexiscan is a monster hit and CV has to forgo half of its future windfall.

Don't go dissing Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), because the office-supply superstore chain doesn't take criticism lightly. Firing off a press release hours after Standard & Poor's downgraded its credit rating to junk status, Office Depot emphasized its turnaround plan, which it expects will increase its operating margins by 300 basis points above its normalized rate by the end of 2010. Will that be enough to change the credit rating agency's mind? Of course not. Office Depot's response is like a baseball manager storming out of the dugout to complain over an umpire's call. Office Depot will kick dirt on the agency's shoes, jawbone a bit, turn its cap around, and basically do anything it can without getting ejected. But this action isn't about convincing the ump. That will never happen. It's about showing the fans -- or in Office Depot's case, its shareholders -- that the company cares.

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW) kicked around its expectations this morning. The footwear maker had a strong quarter, fueled by its outdoor shoe lines. Earnings and margins soared. Inventory levels were down. Raising its full-year outlook, Wolverine now expects to earn $1.83 to $1.90 a share. I guess that's what happens when you don't put holes in your shoes.

Let's play "Guess the Headline." Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) is bracing investors for a bumpy quarter. The hard-drive maker posted healthy third-quarter results last night, but that was more than offset by news that the company's fourth-quarter profit outlook is sharply lower than Wall Street's expectations. The company sold 43 million drives this past quarter, but now investors are worried about the future. So which of the following headlines do you think you'll see the most in today's media coverage?

  • Hard Times for Hard-Drive Company
  • Isn't Seagate Another Word for Watergate?
  • Hard-Drive Maker Crashes
  • How to Partition a Hard-Drive Stock

Have a great day out there.

Dell and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations, CV Therapeutics is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection, and Dell is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any newsletter you like free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes that breakfast is an important part of the day. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.