Earnings Season

Earnings season is upon us. Today the DOW touched it’s highest annual level of 9000 while the Nasdaq jumped 2.9%, it’s twelfth daily consecutive gain. Following is a summary of interesting earnings highlights in the tech sector to show just where things stand.

Microsoft’s (MSFT) fourth-quarter net income dropped 29% to $3.05 billion and revenue fell 17% to $13.10 billion. It was hurt by a global slump in demand for PCs and servers. Sales in the client division which produces Window OS, fell 29% and earnings fell 33%. Google will be introducing the Chrome OS soon while Microsoft will be launching it’s own Windows 7 in October of this year.

Apple (AAPL) reported third-quarter profits increase by 15% to $1.23 billion and revenue rose 12% to $8.33 billion. Apple sold 5.2 million iPhones, a 700% increase YoY. Macintosh saw 4% rise in shipments to 2.6 million units, however, revenue fell 8% to 3.33 billion due to price cuts on some MacBooks. iPod sales dropped 7% YoY to 10.2 million and revenues declined 11% to 1.49 billion. This is the natural effect of cannibalization by iPhone and iTouch.

Amazon (AMZN) said its second-quarter net slid 10% to $142 million, though sales increased 14% to $4.65 billion. The company, which announced an agreement to buy online retailer Zappos.com yesterday for $850 million, said it expects net sales of between $4.75 billion and $5.25 billion in the third quarter.

Yahoo (YHOO) said its second-quarter revenue slid 13% to $1.57 billion but profits rose 8% to $141.4 million due to layoffs of 700 employees to 13,000 total, and other cost-cutting measures. A Yahoo/Microsoft deal is back in the negotiating room as the companies seek to form a partnership against rival Google, which means the deal would have to be approved by regulators due to antitrust concerns. The companies have skirted the negotiations over the past 2 years until they came to head a few months ago with CEO Jerry Yang when negotiations failed and Yahoo stock fell considerably as the recession hit. Yahoo, this past Tuesday launched a new home page and announced a deal with AT&T to sell display advertising.

AMD (AMD) posted second quarter losses of $330 million while revenue was down from $1.36 billion to $1.18 billion. Margins for its chips business were down from 35% to 27% a stark contrast from rival Intel’s report of increasing gross margins. Intel’s revenues also in turn increased 12%. AMD blamed the declines on under-utilized factories which lead to a reduction in margins and also lower chip prices.

Google (GOOG) reported a revenue increase for 2.9% to $5.52 billion while profits rose 19% to $1.48 billion due to cost cuts and laying off some 300 employees. Google commands one-third of the $24.5 billion U.S. Internet advertising market. Mr. Schmidt reported a recovery in advertising spend in travel and shopping but finance sector remains weak. The bulk of the growth came for search advertisements as advertisers turn to more predictable and targetted ads on Google.

TomTom (TOM2), a dutch navigation equipment manufacturer reports 61% drop in second quarter profits to $28 million while the top line saw a decline of  19% to $522 million. The company expects to a total industry demand of 15 million Portable Navigation Device units in Europe and 17 million in North America for the complete fiscal year of which it expects that 11 to 12 million units will be of TomTom. The company also suffers stiff competition from the likes of iPhone and other similar phones in the market which provide a navigation facility among other things.

Wipro (WIT) reported a 12% rise in first-quarter profits to $210 million making it the third Indian software company to beat forecasts. Earlier, bigger rival Tata reported a 22% increase in profits while Infosys reported a 17% increase in profits. Wipro, India’s third largest software maker booked revenues from IT services, products, customer care and lighting businesses.  IT Services registered revenues of $1.03 billion which makes up 77% of Wipro’s revenue stream and margins in the same division grew from 20.9% to 22.3%.

LG Electronics, South Korea’s second largest consumer electronic company after Samsung, reported quarterly net income increase for 62% to $918 million and earnings increased 14% to 1.2 billion. LG expects strong outlook in LCD and handset business. The company sold nearly 30 million handsets in the quarter and operating margin on these handsets increased from 6.7% to 11% QoQ.

Elsewhere, Cisco (CSCO) signed a deal with Marriot hotels for telepresence services in 25 locations. Telepresence helps reduce travel costs and Mariott cancelled previous deals with HP (HPQ) telepresence solutions for $120K each plus $10K monthly fee. Last year alone, HP sold Cisco gear worth $1 billion but tough economic times has lead to tough competition between the two. Cisco’s top of the line telepresence sells for $300K vs HP’s $350K. BBC has dumped project Kangaroo, an Internet TV service that was planned in collaboration with two other television networks. The project was ruled out in February due to antitrust issues from the Competition Commission. BBC wrote off some $15 million in the project for the FY ended April 30. The BBC iPlayer gets 41 million+ hits a month and BBC is currently exploring other options for profitable online television broadcasting.


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