Updated from June 10Shares of Texas Instruments ( TXN) continued to move lower in Wednesday's premarket session as analysts weighed in on the chipmaker's preannouncement. In early Instinet premarket trading, the shares last crossed at $19.18, down $1.21, or 6%, from Tuesday's 4 p.m. EDT close. The decline has steadily widened since the company warned after the bell that its June-quarter revenue and earnings will fall below expectations, hurt by weak chip sales into the wireless market. Among the many analyst actions released Wednesday, Deutsche Bank recommended selling the shares, saying they've lost momentum. "We believe that this profit warning has weakened the bull case on Texas Instruments -- strength in wireless drives significant earnings leverage," Deutsche wrote. The brokerage noted the shares trade above its old price target of $18 and lowered the target to $16. Elsewhere, Banc of America lowered the shares to neutral from buy and trimmed about a nickel from both its 2003 and 2004 earnings estimates. SoundView reiterated a neutral rating, and Smith Barney lowered its earnings estimate and cut the price target to $17 from $18.
Unpretty PictureTI, the largest maker of cell-phone chips, said in a release Tuesday that sales will rise only about 5% instead of the 7% originally forecast. Its chip arm will grow 2% instead of 4%. Before Tuesday's update, Wall Street had been gearing for 8 cents earnings on revenue of $2.3 billion for the second quarter, implying 6.4% sequential growth. Earnings will total 6 cents, plus or minus a few cents, instead of about 8 cents. The drop in earnings is due in equal measure to the lower revenue and to higher charges from restructuring in manufacturing plants. TI recently cut an additional 250 Japan-based jobs in chip manufacturing, pushing related charges up an additional $15 million to an expected $55 million for the June quarter.
"As we noted in our April conference call, some inventory of wireless semiconductors was built in Asian markets, particularly China, toward the end of the first quarter. That inventory, which would have been successfully worked through under normal conditions, instead stalled as demand has weakened in those markets. We believe the weakness in demand is largely due to the ongoing economic impact associated with SARS, and should abate as the health concerns are resolved," said CEO Tom Engibous. It's hardly the first wireless player to complain that business in Asia, weakened by the SARS epidemic, has weighed on sales, following similar commentary in the last week from TriQuint ( TQNT), Motorola ( MOT) and Nokia ( NOK).