BOLTING LANDING, N.Y. -- Just like the summer heat, earnings season is breaking out in all of its glory. Let's take a look at what to expect from earnings season: Who will hit, and who will miss?
led off the cavalcade of technology earnings, setting a very strong tone for the industry. Not only did Intel beat top- and bottom-line analyst estimates, but the company also raised forward guidance. Should we expect the same from some of Intel's peers in the semiconductor group? Yes and no.
Advanced Micro Devices
, which is a fraction of the size of Intel, is expected to turn a slight gain of 6 cents a share for the quarter vs. a hefty loss of 49 cents a share last year. Sales are expected to grow 30% year over year. The PC business is picking up, but perhaps not so much for AMD, which has not managed to get its chips into the best-selling PCs. I would note that estimates have been ratcheted down slightly for AMD in the past week but remain unchanged from levels two months ago. In other words, analysts became more positive on earnings and then had second thoughts. I would not extrapolate Intel's overwhelming success to AMD. In fact, the hit from Intel might juxtapose a miss from AMD.
On the other hand,
, which specialized in semiconductors for the wireless and video industries, could be poised for significant upside surprises for its most-recent quarter and in terms of forward guidance.
There are two large companies that have telegraphed big hits for the quarter. The first one might be obvious:
. The iPad is a big hit. There is not enough inventory to make sales fast enough. The iMac line of computers, also selling like hot cakes, uses Intel Xeon and Core Duo chips, so we should connect those dots between Intel and Apple.
The other company that has telegraphed an excellent quarter is
. Sales continue to be strong for Ford. The company recently announced the
as well as all dividends in arrears on its 6.5% Cumulative Trust Preferred Securities (FpS).
These actions are all made possible by strong sales and cash flow. Furthermore, it sets the stage for a resumption of dividend payments on the common stock. I like the
There are some "jump balls" that could go either way. The first one is
. On the one hand, U.S. Steel will benefit from the improving U.S. automotive industry. However, demand in Europe for its products remains weak, and construction in the U.S. is still in the doldrums while Chinese construction moves in fits and starts. The stock is so beaten down that it could be poised for a rebound if the company meets or slightly exceeds analysts' consensus estimates of 60 cents for the quarter.
The other jump ball is
. The report from
last week indicated that demand for aluminum is beginning to rise. That could mean that demand for Alcoa products could be coming from Boeing, which is finally getting to work on production of its 787 Dreamliner. However, with so many governments now pulling tighter on the reigns, Boeing might feel a little pinch from government work. Estimates have been trickling lower for Boeing, which could be setting up for a big surprise in either direction.
-- Written by Scott Rothbort in Bolton Landing, N.Y.
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At the time of publication, Rothbort was long F-WS, FpS and Apple stock and calls, although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is the Founder and President of
, a registered investment advisor specializing in customized separate account management for high net worth individuals. In addition, he is the founder of
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. Rothbort is also a Term Professor of Finance at Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business, where he teaches courses in finance and economics. He is the Chief Market Strategist for The Stillman School of Business and the co-supervisor of the Center for Securities Trading and Analysis.
Mr. Rothbort is a regular contributor to
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and local television. As an expert in the field of derivatives and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), he frequently speaks at industry conferences. He is an ETF advisory board member for the Information Management Network, a global organizer of institutional finance and investment conferences. In addition, he is widely quoted in interviews in the printed press and on the internet.
Mr. Rothbort founded LakeView Asset Management in 2002. Prior to that, since 1991, he worked at Merrill Lynch, where he held a wide variety of senior-level management positions, including Business Director for the Global Equity Derivative Department, Global Director for Equity Swaps Trading and Risk Management, and Director for secured funding and collateral management for the Global Capital Markets Group and Corporate Treasury. Prior to working at Merrill Lynch, within the financial services industry, he worked for County Nat West Securities and Morgan Stanley, where he had international assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London. He began his career working at Price Waterhouse from 1982 to 1984.
Mr. Rothbort received an M.B.A., majoring in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business, New York University, in 1992, and a B.Sc. in Economics, majoring in Accounting, from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in 1982. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Mr. Rothbort is married to Layni Horowitz Rothbort, a real estate attorney, and together they have five children.