Intel (INTC, $20.71, up $0.24) reported a stellar quarter after the bell as its 2Q profits soared 25%. The company reported earnings of $1.6 billion, or $0.28 a share on revenues of $9.5 billion. I mentioned the company could beat expectations by a penny and they tripled that. Not bad Intel.

Low-cost laptops are powering Intel’s growth right now, though lower prices for some of the company’s fastest-growing models drove down Intel’s selling price. No worries though as Intel can absorb the price cuts due to better proficency that lowers the cost of making each chip.

Wall Street liked the results although the stock was up only $0.24 in after-hours trading. It was a sign that global PC demand is healthy despite the nasty U.S. economy that has depressed some domestic spending. Intel even stated that its chips remains strong “in all segments and all parts of the globe” as it also lifted guidance for its 3Q.

Volume in the July 20 call (NQGD, $1.10, up $0.09) was heavy ahead of Intel’s report as 10,000 contracts traded hands. However, volume was even heavier in the July 19 puts (NQST, $0.17, down $0.02) as 22,000 contracts (nearly double) as many thought Intel would disappoint.

Rick Rouse