To get a measure of this earnings season, I've been keeping track of some of the tech bellwethers. There have been a few winners but, for the most part, the results aren't encouraging.
The following table is our tech scorecard for the week ending Jan 23, 2009. Three out of fourteen companies on our list of bellwethers have beat earnings expectations thus far in this earnings season.
|IBM (IBM)||beat by $0.25||good guidance|
|Apple (AAPL)||beat by $0.32||conservative guidance (as usual)|
|Intel (INTC)||miss (rev -23%)||conservative guidance|
|eBay (EBAY)||profits down 31%||weak guidance|
|Nokia (NOK)||miss by $0.02||weak guidance|
|Sony (SNE)||miss, first annual loss in 14 years||guidance revised downward|
|Microsoft (MSFT)||missed by $0.02||announced layoffs, not providing guidance|
|Google (GOOG)||beats by $0.15||AdSense (30% of revenue) flat, $1B charge to write down AOL and Clearwire. Search ads, aggregate clicks doing well. Somewhat conservative guidance offered.|
|MEMC (WFR)||earnings down almost 80% from prior year||very weak guidance|
|Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM)||in line but down severely year-over-year||very weak guidance|
|Samsung||first ever quarterly loss||restructuring, expects loss next quarter|
|AMD (AMD)||miss by $0.14||weak guidance|
It is true that earnings can be considered old news so I have provided a column that lists the outlook for each company based on management's forward guidance. It is rather distressing that guidance ranges from "conservative" to "very weak" with only IBM being fairly upbeat about the prospects for 2009.
We have only seen a couple of weeks of earnings so there is a possibility that others in the tech industry can do better. Still, given how many companies have announced layoffs and guided downward, I would not be too hopeful.