Western Digital (WDC - Get Report) shares traded at a seven-week high Friday after guiding toward stronger second-half sales, alongside wider company cost cuts, following weaker-than-expected second quarter earnings.
Western Digital said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December, its fiscal second quarter, came in at $1.45 per share, down more than 63% from the same period last year and 6 cents shy of the consensus forecast. Revenues fell 21% to $4.23 billion, essentially in-line with Street forecasts, and said third quarter earnings and sales would also miss estimates.
However, suggestions that overall memory chip demand may rebound in the second half of the year, a view that echoes key sector peers such as SK Hynix (HXSCL) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM - Get Report) , reversed after-hours declines for Western Digital shares and pushed them sharply higher in the pre-market session.
"The confidence we have is a number of things. Obviously, it's through direct conversations with our customers. It's a combination of the rate of growth relative to their services remains sort of steady and constant," CEO Steve Milligan told investors on a conference call late Thursday. "So what they need to do collectively is get through their optimizations as well as in some cases, there are some excess inventory in this system for that group of customers."
"So a combination of those factors gives us confidence that will see the growth resume for us in both sides of a business and the second half of the year," he added.
Western Digital rose 7.5% on Friday to close at $43.16.
Semiconductor stocks have been clouded by mixed 2019 forecasts over this earnings season, with Texas Instruments, which makes a host of components including control devices for Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iphones and iPads, indicating that semiconductor demand will rebound in the second half of the year while Intel Inc. (INTC - Get Report) suggested big customers may have purchased more than enough product in advance of rising U.S.-China trade tensions.
In Europe, STMicroelectronics said Thursday it sees sequential quarter revenue growth returning in the second half of this year, following a fourth quarter earnings report that had stronger-than-expected profit margins of around 40%.
ASML Holding NV (ASML - Get Report) , however, cautioned the previous day that delayed orders and swelling inventories would hit first quarter sales of its extreme ultraviolet lithography systems, or EUV, machines, which design complex chips used by, sector titans such as Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) , Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor.
SK Hynix, the world's second-biggest memory chipmaker, cautioned on weak first quarter sales earlier this week, but said cloud and DRAM chip demand could rebound firmly in the final six months of the year.
Last week, Taiwan Semiconductor, the world's biggest contract chipmaker and a lead supplier for Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) iPhones, cautioned that near-term sales would slide the most in 10 years as global smartphone markets continue to slow.
Apple's shock sales warning earlier this month, which it pegged to slowing demand in China, was echoed by its main rival Samsung, which said fourth quarter profits would likely come in at around 10.8 trillion Korean won ($9.67 billion), well shy of the market consensus of 13.2 trillion won, with sales falling 11% to 59 trillion won.