Wall Street Beat: Strong Earnings Cheer IT Investors

The biggest bellwether loser this week was Motorola, which Thursday said slowing phone sales caused a net loss of $194 million, compared to a $181 million loss last year. The results were even worse than had been expected: a per share loss of $0.09, compared to a loss per share of $0.08 last year, and analyst expectations of a $0.07 loss. As most tech stocks rose Thursday, Motorola shares lost $0.28 to close at $9.27.

The Motorola results, while highlighting a highly competitive market, aren't necessarily causing widespread concern for the mobile sector. Motorola's lack of a hit product during the past year has been widely noted, and its troubles are seen to be the result of its own failings.

In the software sector, Sybase had good news on Thursday, reporting that profit skyrocketed 60 percent from last year, sparked by increases in messaging and database sales. Net income hit $24.2 million, and excluding one-time items, per share earnings were $0.39, easily beating analyst estimates of $0.34.

Sybase Chief Marketing Officer Raj Nathans said one key to the company results, the best in its history, is diversification. "The company is diversified geographically, with about 50 percent of sales coming from outside the U.S." In addition, the company is strong in several vertical markets and has worked to diversify its product lines. Sybase shares rose by $2.70 to close at $29.16 Thursday.

Diversification has also been key to the generally good results being reported by tech bellwethers over the past few weeks, which has helped bring up the tech-heavy Nasdaq to the 2400 level this week, from the 2100 level in mid-March.

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