The presence of intermediate-term periodicities in solar activity, at approximately 323 and 540 days, has been claimed by different authors. In this paper, we have performed a search for them in the historical records of two main indices of solar activity, namely, the daily sunspot areas (cycles 12 21) and the daily Zürich sunspot number (cycles 6 21). Two different methods to compute power spectra have been used, one of them being especially appropriate to deal with gapped time series. The results obtained for the periodicity near 323 days indicate that it has only been present in cycle 21, while in previous cycles no significant evidence for it has been found. On the other hand, a significant periodicity at 350 days is found in sunspot areas and Zürich sunspot number during cycles 12 21 considered all together, also having been detected in some individual cycles. However, this last periodicity must be looked into with care due to the lack of confirmation for it coming from other features of solar activity. The periodicity around 540 days is found in cycles 12, 14, and 17 in sunspot areas, while during cycles 18 and 19 it is present, with a very high significance, in sunspot areas and Zürich sunspot number. It also appears at 528 days in sunspot areas during cycles 12 21. On the other hand, it is important to note the coincidence between the asymmetry, favouring the northern hemisphere, of sunspot areas and solar flares during cycle 19, and the fact that the periodicity at 540 days was only present, with high significance, in that hemisphere during that solar cycle.