AMD Tanks, Google Cranks: Tech Winners & Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shares tanked 19.4% to $3.68 following the release of poor second-quarter earnings.

Both AMD’s results and its third-quarter outlook, released yesterday afternoon, were disappointing. AMD’s revenue of $1.44 billion was in line with analyst estimates and represents a 24% increase from the same quarter last year and a 3% increase from the first quarter. AMD earned 2 cents a share, short of analyst expectations of 3 cents. Gross margin was 40%, down from 35% last quarter. Sales in the computing solutions declined 20% from a year ago. Intel (INTL) revenues in the PC processor division rose 6.2%, suggesting that AMD is losing its market share to Intel. The company forecast third quarter revenues from $1.43-$1.51 billion, while analysts estimated an average of $1.57 billion.

"The second quarter capped off a solid first half of the year for AMD with strong revenue growth and improved financial performance," CEO Rory Read said in a statement. "Our transformation strategy is on track and we expect to deliver full year non-GAAP profitability and year-over-year revenue growth. We continue to strengthen our business model and shape AMD into a more agile company offering differentiated solutions for a diverse set of markets."

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Bank of America analyst Vivek Arya downgraded the stock to “underperform” from “neutral” and lowered the price target to $4 from $4.50. “While management has done a good job of strengthening the balance sheet and winning critical business with major console customers,” Arya wrote, “we believe the legacy PC/graphics market continues to be a material headwind.”

Google (GOOG) shares rose 2.1% to $585.56 after posting earnings that mostly exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Google’s revenues rose 22% to $15.96 billion including traffic acquisition costs (TAC), earning $6.08 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected revenue of $15.61 billion and EPS of $6.24.These results exclude the Motorola Mobility unit, which will be sold to Lenovo Group. Paid clicks rose 25% from the same quarter last year and 2% from the first quarter 2014. Cost per click, or CPC, fell 6% year-over-year, an improvement from the first quarter, when CPC fell 9% year-over-year.

“Google had a great quarter with revenue up 22% year on year,” Google CFO Patrick Pichette said in a press release. “We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term.”

The company also announced that Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora was leaving Google to become Vice Chairman of Japan's SoftBank and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media. He will be replaced “for now” by Omid Kordestani.

A number of analysts upgraded Google stock in response to the earnings release. Analysts at J.P. Morgan  (JPM) reiterated their “overweight” rating and raised the price target to $670 from $645. Oppenheimer  (OPY) upgraded the stock to “market perform” and raised its price target to $656 from $610. BMO Capital Markets also upgraded Google to “market perform” and raised the price target to $600 from $526. Canaccord Genuity raised its rating to “buy” and its price target from $700 to $715.

Shares of Ericsson (ERIC) jumped 8.3% to $12.65 after a strong earnings report.

Ericsson’s sales rose 15% year-over-year to $8.03 billion and its EPS was 16 cents. These results slightly exceeded expectations: analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted sales of $8.0 billion and EPS of 15 cents. Gross margin rose to 36.4%, up from 32.4% a year ago. In Ericsson’s largest market, North America, revenue fell 1% from last year but rose 24% from the first quarter. The Swedish telecoms equipment maker’s sales have been aided particularly by contracts in Asia; for example, Ericsson won large contracts for 4G in China. Political unrest negatively impacted sales in the Middle East and Africa, but not in Russia and Ukraine.

“We continue to evolve through investments in both our core business as well as in new and targeted areas,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in the press release. “Through our technology and services leadership we are well positioned to continue to be a strategic partner to our customers as they move to capture new market opportunities.”

Apple (AAPL) shares rose modestly, up 0.8% to $93.79 following the announcement of a new member of its board.

The company announced yesterday that Susan L. Wagner, a co-founder of the asset management firm BlackRock (BLK), had been named a company director. Wagner also serves on the boards of BlackRock, India's DSP BlackRock, Swiss Re, and Wellesley College, her alma mater. She is the second woman to join Apple’s eight-person board, joining former Avon AVP CEO Andrea Jung. Apple has been criticized for its board's lack of diversity. Wagner is the only member of Apple’s board who came from a financial firm.

“Sue is a pioneer in the financial industry and we are excited to welcome her to Apple’s board of directors,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press statement. “We believe her strong experience, especially in M&A and building a global business across both developed and emerging markets, will be extremely valuable as Apple continues to grow around the world.”

Wagner said that she looked forward to working with Cook, adding, “I have always admired Apple for its innovative products and dynamic leadership team, and I’m honored to be joining their board.”

She replaces Bill Campbell, who served on the board for 17 years. “When Bill joined Apple’s board, the company was on the brink of collapse,” Cook said. “He not only helped Apple survive, but he’s led us to a level of success that was simply unimaginable back in 1997.”

--Written by Laura Berman in New York

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