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Wall Street Beat: Weak PC sales rain on tech stocks' parade

Marc Ferranti | April 12, 2013
Just as tech stocks were starting to rise this week, dismal PC sales reports for the first quarter burst the very short-lived bubble, causing shares of IT companies to fall back to earth Thursday.

Looking at the entire hardware market, though, some industry analysts see a silver lining: While the PC market implodes, other computing devices such as tablets and smartphones are selling well.

Despite a "miserable" year for semiconductors in 2012, smartphones and tablets will help drive growth in 2013, according to a research report from IHS.

Global semiconductor revenue in 2012 declined by 2.2 percent from 2011, according to final results from an IHS iSuppli report, issued Wednesday. There were a few bright spots, however.

"Robust growth in smartphones and media tablets was key to driving growth opportunities for logic ASICs, CMOS image sensors and sensors essential to enabling new and attractive features in the exciting wireless market," said Dale Ford, senior director at IHS, in the report. Growth in CMOS image sensors hit 38.8 percent, followed by logic ASICs at 19.0 percent.

Some industry analysts are taking a broad view. "We are watching the resizing of the computer industry into different slices. Yesterday it was just one big pie with two slices, desktops and notebooks," noted tech analyst Jeff Kagan, in an email. "The computer industry is not going away. It's just changing, resizing. "

This sort of positive spin on tech will be put to the test next week, when tech bellwethers including IBM, Intel, AMD, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft report earnings.

 

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