Intel's Strong Quarter Fuels Optimism for Tech Sector

Demand for consumer technology is back -- and companies and governments seem ready to go shopping for tech again too. Intel (INTC), the world's largest chip-maker, handily beat Wall Street earnings expectations Thursday, reporting a blockbuster fourth quarter and forecasting a strong first quarter of 2010. The results are further evidence that the tech industry is on the leading edge of the U.S. economic recovery, and offer reason for optimism heading into tech-earnings season. Intel's results were fueled by strong consumer tech spending -- a welcome development for the economy -- amid signs that corporate technology spending might be set to finally pick up.