NEW YORK (
) -- Beyond the developments in the
case and the attendant
market selloff Friday
, investors will be looking ahead at next week's huge lineup of tech earnings for some diversion.
Earnings season seems to bring out the fight in all of us, and there are five tech shops due up next week that you might want in your corner.
Let's gin this list up with a big shot of the Juniper berry. Juniper, the Sunnyvale, Calif. networking gearmaker, is expected to deliver solid numbers after the bell Tuesday. Investors love growth stocks, and Juniper is expected to post 20% sales growth over year-ago levels. Given that Juniper sells data networking gear to telcos swamped by rising data traffic, Juniper has a good shot of beating that growth pace.
The risk to this assumption, of course, is the unreliable pace of tech spending. Juniper also fights head-to-head with
for switch and router sales. Still, Juniper might come out shining Tuesday.
Seagate is the first of the Big Two hard drive makers to report this week, and Seagate is likely to show it has been riding the PC buying wave rather well.
huge earnings beat last week established that
. Outside PCs, external and portable hard drives have also been selling well. Investors have been leery lately of Seagate's role in the PC drama, the stock is up a mere 5% this year. Seagate may help boost some confidence when it reports late Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Western Digital will step up to the plate with largely the same overall results that Seagate put together Tuesday. Again, PC manufacturing is up, according to Intel. And PC sales are up globally between 20% and 30%, says IDC and Gartner. These are favorable winds if you are a big hard drive sloop. A big risk is that the rival flash memory technology known as solid state drives, has started to displace the conventional disk storage approach. But so far, solid state drives are still too expensive to impact hard drive sales. Western Digital shares should do well if the company exceeds expectations.
This pick is based almost entirely on a hunch, unlike the research rigor behind the other picks. Amazon's share performance has lagged rival
by half this year. Has eBay's business been twice as good as Amazon? Doubtful. If Amazon posts strong numbers and says it sees improvements ahead, the stock disparity with eBay will vanish. Second, the impact of
has caused Kindle sales worries among investors. If Amazon can say it hasn't been bruised by Apple, investor relief may add a few points to the stock.
It's the slowest horse in any stock race, and hardly a favorite pick against the likes of wireless chip maker
or even mighty
. But after utter failures like Vista, Microsoft's Windows 7 has finally sparked a PC buying cycle that extends beyond the holidays. Windows 7 marks a roaring recovery for Microsoft. Winning in the mobile Internet market is the still the real battle for Microsoft, but for the most recent quarter, a hearty victory in the old core business could make the stock surge a buck to $32. Buckle up for a wild ride.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York