Updated from 4:20 p.m. EDT: It was six months ago that tech execs first started complaining that they were having difficulty predicting their future results. Now, half a year later, they're no longer even trying. Unix systems maker Sun Microsystems ( SUNW) reported fiscal fourth-quarter results Thursday evening. Sales totaled $4 billion. Earnings per share came in at 4 cents. We know both figures are well below year-ago levels. We know they each were slightly above drastically lowered expectations.
'Comfort Level'But that's pretty much where everyone's knowledge ends. Following what seems to be a nascent trend on Wall Street, Sun's management team refused to give even the vaguest guidance for its fiscal first quarter on the conference call held after the company's earnings release. CFO Mike Lehman said told analysts that a revenue range would be supplied at the company's mid-quarter update in August. In the meantime, the best that Lehman could do was say that given the current expense structure, the Sun would break even if its sales totaled $3.7 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2002. EMC ( EMC) declined to give guidance when it reported its results on Tuesday. Nortel ( NT) did the same on its earnings conference call Thursday evening.
|Low Tide? |
Sales, earnings ebbing through 2001