Big Techs Miss Big

Intel , IBM and Yahoo gave tech investors much to worry about late Tuesday when all three delivered disappointing fourth-quarter results.

In after-hours trading, Yahoo shares fell 11%, Intel lost 7%, and IBM was down 1%.

Intel was perhaps the biggest surprise, missing Wall Street expectations by just about every measure. The chip giant posted earnings of 40 cents a share, three cents below analysts’ estimates, on sales of $10.2 billion, $360 million less than expected. March quarter sales guidance of $9.1-9.7 billion was below the $10 billion analysts were looking for, and Intel also predicted a decline in gross margins from 62% to 59%. The company cited lower than expected desktop demand for the results.

Yahoo’s 16-cent-a-share earnings missed analysts’ estimates by a penny, and sales of $1.068 billion were up 36% from the year ago quarter, but just below $1.07 billion expectations. Some analysts were looking for Yahoo to beat expectations, adding to the late slide in Yahoo’s shares. Yahoo’s first-quarter guidance was also light of expectations. The company said it expects first-quarter sales to come in at $1.04-$1.1 billion, at the low end of $1.09 billion estimates. Competitor Google , which also took a hit after hours, will report its results Jan. 31.

IBM fared better. Big Blue’s earnings of $2.11 a share beat estimates by 17 cents, but sales of $24.43 billion were well below $25.5 billion forecasts. IBM’s global services business posted a 5% year-over-year decline to $12 billion, below $13 billion estimates, but bookings of $11.5 billion were better than expected.

The late declines came on top of market losses during the day on rising oil prices and financial scandal fears in Japan.

The Nasdaq fell 14 to 2302, the S&P 500 lost 4 to 1282, and the Dow dropped 63 to 10,896. Volume declined to 2.17 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 1.79 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 21-11 on the NYSE, and 19-11 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 67% on the NYSE, and 69% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 154-32 on the NYSE, and 133-34 on the Nasdaq.

Affiliated Computer fell 7% after it said it is no longer considering a buyout offer.

AMD and Applied Materials fell on downgrades.

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