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In brief: Intel bumps up revenue forecast

Santa Clara, Calif. – Intel Corp. raised its third-quarter revenue forecast above Wall Street’s expectations Friday, citing strong demand for its chips and giving another signal that business is improving for one of the world’s biggest technology companies. Intel shares rose 4 percent.

The leading maker of computer microprocessors now expects sales of $8.8 billion to $9.2 billion. Its last guidance, which came July 14, was for revenue in the range of $8.1 billion to $8.9 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $8.55 billion in revenue before Friday.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also said it expects the quarter’s gross profit margin to be in the upper half of the range it previously forecast.

Regulators close two more banks

Washington – Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Maryland and Minnesota, pushing to 83 the number of bank failures this year amid the soured economy and rising loan defaults.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Baltimore-based Bradford Bank, with about $452 million in assets and $383 million in deposits. It also seized Mainstreet Bank, based in Forest Lake, Minn., with assets of $459 million and deposits of $434 million.

Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co., based in Buffalo, N.Y., has agreed to assume the deposits and assets of Bradford Bank. Central Bank, based in Stillwater, Minn., is assuming the deposits and assets of Mainstreet Bank.

Whirlpool closing fridge factory

Indianapolis – Whirlpool Corp. announced Friday that it will close its refrigerator factory in Evansville, Ind., by next year and cut 1,100 jobs as it continues a push to trim excess capacity.

Whirlpool said it will move the production of refrigerators with freezers on top to a company location in Mexico, where they are cheaper to produce. Ice makers produced in Evansville will be moved to a yet-to-be-decided location.

A good August for automakers

Detroit – Auto executives on Friday said new vehicle sales in August likely did something they haven’t done in a long time: They increased compared with last year, thanks in large part to the government’s popular cash for clunkers program.

It was the best month of the year for the sputtering industry. But sales will probably slow in the coming months now that the program is over.

Cash for clunkers, which ended on Monday, drew hordes of buyers into sleepy showrooms, providing a much-needed lift in business. It spurred 690,114 new sales at a taxpayer cost of $2.88 billion, according to the Department of Transportation.


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