Tech Rewind: Earnings Season Showing Mixed Tech Sector Results

There may be a shortage of economic data from Washington as the government shutdown continued early this week, but there was plenty of data coming out of the Silicon Valley, as a number of important tech bellwethers announced quarterly results.

The results for the sector were mixed, with Yahoo and IBM turning out disappointing revenue numbers, and EBay and Intel giving weak current-quarter guidance. In fact, the report cards were less than encouraging, until Thursday when Google reported results that smashed the Street’s expectations, and sent the stock soaring to a new high on Friday.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) said third-quarter profit fell 13%, as revenue dropped 1%. Chief executive officer Marissa Mayer urged patience as the company continues to make adjustments that drive user-engagement; user growth is up about 15% over the past year.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) missed revenue expectations by a billion dollars on Wednesday, when it reported sales of $23.7 billion, compared to the $24.8 billion the Street had expected.  This sent the stock sharply lower on Thursday, even as profit narrowly topped expectations at $3.99 a share.

Ebay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) revenue rose 14% to $3.9 billion and earnings improved to 64 cents a share, but the company issued weaker than expected guidance for the fourth quarter.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) announced profit and revenue that narrowly beat expectations at 58 cents a share on sales of $13.5 billion. The chip-maker gave tentative guidance for revenue in the fourth quarter of $13.7 billion, below the Street’s projected $14 billion.

Chief executive Brian Krzanich also warned that production on its forthcoming Broadwell chip is behind schedule and will begin in the first quarter of 2014.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) ended the week on a high note, announcing blockbuster results that smashed estimates. The company weighed in with earnings of $10.47 a share on revenue of $14.98 billion, well above the Street’s projected $10.34 a share and revenue of $14.8 billion.  The report sent shares of Google soaring above the $1000 mark.  The stock finished the week up 16%, at $1,011.41.

Outside of earnings, Twitter made headlines on Tuesday when it disclosed in a regulatory filing that its stock would list on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol ‘TWTR.’  The decision to list on the NYSE was a loss for the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has suffered a run of bad press as a result of the problems experienced during Facebook’s IPO, and the glitch that halted trading for several hours in August of this year.

On Wednesday, Apple announced that it was bringing on a new retail chief.  Angela Ahrendts, chief executive  officer for British luxury retailer Burberry, will join the tech firm in a move many are heralding as a strategic hire; Ahrendts is credited with the brand turnaround that has fueled several years of growth in sales at Burberry. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple was back in the news on Thursday, when the Wall Street Journal reported the company was planning to cut orders of its lower-end iPhone 5C, as a result of weak demand cited by carriers and retailers. Microsoft released an update to its Windows 8 operating system launched last year.

The update, dubbed Windows 8.1, brings back features such as the ‘Start’ button, which many users complained were lost when the company rolled out Windows 8, an operating system meant to maximize features on touch-enabled desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

"What we heard from customers was that they loved the new, but they also wanted to be able to use what they were used to. and the Windows that they’d grown to love,” Tami Reller, executive vice president of marketing for Microsoft, told FOX Business on Thursday. “So bringing back the start button, allowing customers to boot to the desktop if they’d like, even having the same background between the desktop and the start menu...really helps them move to new apps and new content and new experiences and yet have the familiarity.”

Windows 8.1 was made available free to Windows 8 users on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, reports surfaced that Lenovo was exploring a possible bid for BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), adding another possible suitor to the list of possibilities for the troubled Canadian device-maker.  Neither BlackBerry nor Lenovo would comment on the reports.