SAN FRANCISCO -- More mixed messages from the PC front. Distributor Ingram Micro (IM) warned this morning that first-quarter earnings will fall short of analysts' expectations and set 1,400 job cuts.
The Santa Ana, Calif.-based company attributed the shortfall to intense margin pressure, year 2000 fears and economic jitters in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Ingram Micro's warning highlights the turmoil that has recently erupted in the PC market. Just last week,
said industry sales had been soft for the first six weeks of the first quarter in Europe and North America. Earlier this week,
analyst Richard Chu downgraded
, citing a survey projecting a sharp decline in PC unit sales this year.
Wednesday forecast a healthy first quarter for PC demand, led by vibrant U.S. and Western European markets, though it said PC prices should continue to fall. The data cruncher said it expected the number of PCs shipped worldwide in the first quarter to grow 14.1% from a year ago, with the Asia-Pacific market, excluding Japan, showing more signs of a rebound. International Data said it expected 103.2 million PCs to be shipped from factories in 1999, an increase of 14.3% from 1998.
Ingram Micro shares were off 1 1/8, or 6%, at 17 1/2. Compaq was up 3/16 at 31 3/4 and Dell was down 3/16 at 43 1/8.
The recently downtrodden semiconductor sector is getting hints from
that business is good. At a
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
conference, Micron's vice president of corporate affairs suggested that analysts may be too conservative with their estimates for the second quarter, ended last month, according to
. A company spokeswoman said Micron presented at the conference in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon, but no official announcement has been made. According to
, analysts expect the chip maker to lose 2 cents a share.
CE Unterberg Towbin
downgraded the stock yesterday to buy from strong buy and lowered fiscal 1999 and 2000 estimates because of concerns of falling DRAM prices. However, it left its second-quarter earnings estimate at 8 cents per share.
Some fund managers were even more
bullish, estimating at least 11 or 12 cents per share.
Micron was last up 1 9/16, or 3%, at 56 5/16.
Also, look for
to report earnings later today. First Call's consensus estimate is for a 20-cent-a-share loss.
National Semi was off 1/16 to 10 5/8.
No Bright Spot for Brightpoint
Wireless phone distributor
top loser in early trading after saying it would miss Wall Street's first-quarter and full-year earnings estimates. Instead, it will post a break-even first quarter, due to troubles in Asia and Latin America.
The announcement was greeted with a wave of analyst downgrades. The stock lost 54% to 6.
More Shares Pressure InfoSpace.com
slipped after the Internet company filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
to sell up to 2.8 million shares. Of that amount, 1.5 million will come from the company and the remainder from shareholders. CEO Naveen Jain was among the selling shareholders, filing to sell a million shares.
InfoSpace.com was down 7 7/8, or more than 9%, at 77 3/16.
Yahoo! Pens a Deal in Europe
signed a deal with German telecom
in an attempt to get into the fast-growing European market. Mannesman has 8.4 million German-speaking Internet users.
Shares of Yahoo! were up 8 1/16, or 5%, at 181 5/8.