Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN - Get Report) shares inched higher Wednesday even after the chipmaker cautioned that a much-anticipated rebound in global semiconductor demand could be delayed in the early half of next year.
The sector bellwether said earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $1.26 per share, down 6.6% from last year but firmly ahead of the Street consensus of $1.16 per share. The group said it sees second quarter earnings in the $1.12 to $1.32 range, with revenues between $3.46 billion and $3.72 billion, after reporting stronger-than-expected sales of $3.59 billion over the first three months of the year.
However, the group's near-term outlook pressured shares as it cautioned that historical downturns in the semiconductor sector last between four and five quarters, a figure that would put the expected rebound in global demand into the early part of 2020 - a forecast that contrasts sharply with the second half recovery that most sector rivals have been predicting since the start of the year.
"We believe that after 10 quarters of year-on-year growth, the weakness we are seeing is primarily due to the semiconductor cycle. We have just completed our second quarter of year-on-year declines for TI," CFO Richard Lizardi told investors on a conference call late Tuesday. "If you look at history, cycles are always different, but typically the industry would have four to five quarters of year-on-year declines before year-on-year growth resumes. We are not trying to forecast the cycle, but simply offer some historical perspective."
Texas Instruments shares were marked 0.43% higher at the start of trading Wednesday to change hands at $117.26 each, a move that would still leave the stock with a year-to-date gain of around 22%.
The outlook also clipped gains for chipmakers in Asia, with Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) falling 2.1% in Seoul even after the world's biggest semiconductor group said it would invest nearly $10 billion each year until 2030 in its logic chip business.
Europe's STMicroelectronics NV (STM - Get Report) , a key player in the Apple Inc. AAPL supply chain, pared capital expenditure plans following a 22% slide in first quarter revenues thanks in part to weak global smartphone demand but clung to its forecast of a second half rebound.
"Interestingly for the reported quarter, there were some 'green shoots," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Ambrish Srivastava, noting a stronger book-to-bill ratio and an easing of the rate of order cancellations from the prior quarter for Texas Instruments.
However, Srivastava also said that "TI correctly pointed out that in typical cycles, y-y deceleration in revenues lasts 4-5 quarters. 2Q will be the third quarter of y-y revenue decline for TI," he added. "The cycle will take time to play out."