Earnings got off to a rocky start this week as Citigroup (NYSE:C) missed analyst expectations, casting doubt on what will be a busy end to the week as dozens of blue chip firms will report earnings. Investors are looking to earnings season to revamp the bull run that has faltered in recent weeks, as less-than-encouraging data has put a damper on investor confidence. This slew of earnings has already brought big news, as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced a share split that will certainly shake up how the company is ran. Today, however, we look towards a different industry giant as they detail their performance during the first quarter of 2012 [see also 5 ETFs For The Earnings Bull].
Today will see earnings from semiconductor giants Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Based in California, Intel is regarded as the world's largest and most valuable semiconductor firm, as their chips are utilized for a number of devices across the globe. Intel had a strong 2011, as their revenues of $54 billion were a record for the company, but 2012 looks to be more questionable. Global PC growth was a major factor in last year's strong revenues, but it seems that the demand in this segment of the market could be drying up [see also ETF Insider: More Earnings, More Volatility].
"An unfavorable economic environment and market dynamics favoring mobile devices such as tablets & smartphones are some of the major factors that have moderated the global PC market growth, which is still being supported by the potential in emerging markets" writes Trefis Team. Late last year saw the introduction of "ultrabooks", computers that were meant to outdo their competition with faster speeds and longer battery lives. Unfortunately, they come at a steep price, and as such, their growth has been relatively weak, casting doubt on today's report. Investors should note that Intel will not release earnings until after market close, but anyone looking to make a play on this report will need to establish a position prior to the close, as INTC and related funds will likely gap on Wednesday morning.
In light of this major earnings announcement, today's ETF to watch will be the Market Vectors Semiconductor ETF (NYSEARCA:SMH). This ETF was a former HOLDR product that was converted into a standard fund late last year. SMH focuses on the 25 largest semiconductor firms in the U.S., putting Intel as its top holding by a sizable margin, as the company makes up nearly 20% of the ETF. If Intel misses their mark, look for SMH to take a hit on the day, but a surprise jump would be great news for this fund. SMH has gained 13% on the year while maintaining a dividend yield of roughly 5.4% [see also Five Things We Learned At Inside ETFs].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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