Chip Troubles: Intel Slashes 4Q Outlook By $1 Billion; Applied Materials To Lay Off 1800

Chips have always been a leading indicator of economic health — and Intel is the bellwether of chip industry. So when the semiconductor giant revises its Q4 guidance downwards by $1 Billion, it tends to get noticed.  Tech companies, from PC makers to network equipment makers, are all showing serious decline in sales — and it looks like the troubles are here to stay for a while. Intel stock fell more than 8 percent in after-hours trading.  The economic slump continues to batter tech companies at both the consumer and enterprise level.   Semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials is also feeling the effects of the economic downturn.  The company will be laying off about 1800 employees to cut costs in the face of low chip demand and manufacturing over-capacity