What to expect from Q1 earnings
For Q1 earnings I really do not see many big upside/downside scenarios. I think the market expectations are for basically in-line results. Lets begin with PCs which I believe continue to be weak and we should get a good flavor from DELL how they plan to achieve mid teens growth rate during their analyst day next week. I am more interested in their discussion on how they can drive consumers to electronics then how much discount they need to give to drive PC sales. BBY did not have great things to say about demand as they guided down. There was weakness basically across the board in servers, PCs, and even notebooks. The disk-drive makers saw better pricing and demadn from consumer devices as evident by upside guidance recently by all HDD makers STX, MXO and WDC. The HDD industry is in a supply constraint environment driven by technology shift and at the same time demand continues to be steady from consumer devices driving higher revenues for HDD makers but June quarter remains murky for these guys also.
In semiconductor markets supply demand remain in check with companies making their quarters driven by low expectations as the bar was reset lower late last year. PC market remains a key market for Semis as it represents almost 50% of market. Semi related PCs demand was seasonal at best. Memory market is seeing steady pricing in NAND flash and seriously weak market in DRAM, as evident by commentary from MU. Communication market remain seasonal also with handsets demand being somewhat weak especially in CDMA. Wireline communication related companies should basically see inline quarter with some having trouble meeting expectations especially given weakness in Europe. Demand remains lackluster in networking in March after weak January. Given all these inline demand scenarios its difficult to expect strong tech-tape moving into April earnings season.