Recently, a number of prominent business people and investors have suggested that the economy is still in poor shape, with no quick improvement on the horizon. It should make ears stand up, then, when the earnings release from a cyclical company proclaims their strongest first half performance in more than two decades.
That's exactly what computer chip-maker Intel (INTC) did. The company topped estimates as its shares rose more than 12 percent on the week. As CEO Paul Otellini said, "Intel's second-quarter results reflect improving conditions in the PC market segment with our strongest first- to second-quarter growth since 1988 and a clear expectation for a seasonally stronger second half."