So that’s it. The Consumer Electronics Show ended Thursday in Las Vegas. Not much happens Thursday; it’s the day for exhibitors to cruise each other’s exhibits. Meanwhile, the analysts have all largely left town and have been frantically writing up their thoughts on the show. Here’s a roundup of some of their CES-related stock calls.
- Where’s The Beef: Citigroup’s Jim Suva wrote that there was “a noticeable lack of buzz for hot new products.” He points out that attendance was flat versus last year at 142,000, and down 7% from CES 2006. Suva lists five themes from the show: There was a new focus on design in the LCD sector; thin is in. Gaming was a bigger presence. Blu-Ray dominating HD-DVD. Mobile Internet. Digital Home.
- LCDs Everywhere: Jefferies & Co.’s Brian White writes that he left CES confident that LCD will remain the dominant TV technology for at least the next few years. He thinks that is good news for LCD glass maker Corning (GLW). At the same time, one of the few must-see products at the show were the OLED displays from Sony (SNE) and Samsung. White writes that Corning is well-positioned in OLED as well, supplying both the glass and proprietary sealing technology and potentially silicon on glass.
- Going Organic: ThinkEquity’s Mike Burton also wrote about OLED, observing that “the biggest crowds pushed and shoved to get a better view” of the Samsung and Sony offerings in the category. (And I can attest to the thick crowds around the Sony displays.) Burton notes that the focus on the category could be a boost to Aixtron (AIXG), the leading supplier of OLED equipment.
- The Right Direction: Jefferies & Co.’s Adam Benjamin says that following his meetings with companies in the GPS segment, he believes sell-through of personal navigation devices in the fourth quarter met or exceeded the high-end of expectations. He sees price declines in the personal navigation device market will moderate this year, down 10%-20%, versus a 50%-60% decline in 2007. On another topic, he sees strong adoption of the 802.11n WiFi standard this year; he expects N to be 40%-50% of total sales.
- Feeling Chipper: Craig Berger, of Friedman Billings Ramsey, says chip firms and their customers at the show still do not see signs of a global recession, with demand on track and supply chain inventories lean. “This is not to say a recession will not happen, just that tangible evidence of such a recession is difficult to find in the technology landscape,” he writes. Among the trends he notes at the show were the rapid spread of touch screens; Web-enabled functionality for a wide range of applications, including automatic backup and remote control of household activities; and green initiatives.
- Broad, But Short: Berger noted that Broadcom (BRCM) has become aggressive about winning business in the Blu-Ray market, “using price and margin concessions” as weapons. He thinks first quarter estimates for the company may be too high; and he says the Street consensus EPS estimate for 2008 of $1.35 could be at risk. He sees $1.15 to $1.30. One nice tidbit: he says Broadcom’s combination Bluteooth/WiFi chip could ship in the next generation Apple (AAPL) iPhone.
- TV Static: Wedbush Morgan semi analyst Steve Park remains cautious about the dynamics of the high-end LCD market, with implications for TV-related chips. He says Trident (TRID) may have missed a key design win. He also said that the Tier 1 LCD TV makers will be using ODMs to make lower-end LCD TVs; he believes that Taiwan-based MediaTek may be selling some integrated TV chips at cost to gain share. “We believe overall gross margins could continue to deteriorate over the next few years and may stabilize in the mid-to-high 30 percent range,” he wrote.
- Stick To Your Knitting: Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett noted that Comcast (CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts took a “stick-to-your-knitting” approach in his keynote, focusing on the use of its broadband plant. He also noted that the company did not talk about wireless at all. “At a time when bandwidth is everywhere here in Las Vegas,” he wrote, “[Comcast] is very well positioned not just to keep pace, but indeed to benefit, from the macro-trends that define this year’s CES.”