NEW YORK (AP) _ Intel Corp.'s first-quarter earnings will fall below the company's previous projections because of weaker orders for its computer chips, the company said Wednesday.

Intel's stock sank 11 percent in after hours trading. The announcement from the world's largest chip maker and a bellwether of technology shares came after stock markets closed.

The gloomy could ripple throughout the entire market on Thursday.

Intel did not offer specific earnings projections. But the company said its first-quarter revenue should be about $5.9 billion, which equals a 10 percent drop from the same period last year and reverses its original prediction for a slight rise in the current quarter.

Analysts had expected Intel to earn 93 cents per share in the first quarter before the announcement, already below its performance in the 1997 first quarter, according to a First Call survey.

After rising $1.12 1/2 in daytime trading Wednesday, Intel slid $9.43 3/4 to $77 per share in after-hours trading, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Intel earned $1.98 billion, or $2.20 per share, last year before a 2-for-1 stock split in July.

Chips made by the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company run more than 85 percent of the world's PCs. But Intel has been facing stiffer competition from rivals AMD and Cyrix in supplying the increasingly popular sub-$1,000 PCs.

Intel chips are used in only 75 percent of those cheaper computers, according to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Mercury Research.

Intel also said costs related to its acquisition of Chips and Technologies Inc. will reduce earnings by about $165 million, or 9 cents per share, in the first quarter.

In June, Intel stunned Wall Street by announcing its quarterly earnings would fall below expectations because of weaker demand for its older chips after the company introduced a new line of Pentium chips with fortified multimedia technology.

Its stock fell as much as 14.5 percent on the day of the announcement and dragged the rest of the market lower.