The stock market has responded favorably, relatively speaking, to the rumor that Microsoft is once again making a bid for Yahoo. Traders are buzzing over whether Steve Ballmer will make the same $33 per share offer now that he made a few months ago. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if he did - that's how bad Microsoft wants Yahoo from what I'm hearing on Wall Street.
Now, with Yahoo reportedly once again walking back to the plate, the market seems to have something to hang onto.
Two additional themes with a tech flavor also have the street on edge. First, we're expecting a report on video game sales later today, which is supposed to be positive, from what analysts are saying. If you look at Gamestop, the stock seems to be poised to make a jump in advance of the game report. If Gamestop takes off, the sector should be in good shape - despite the gloomy holiday shopping projects we saw earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Google is announcing third-quarter earnings after the close today, with analyst estimates at $4.76 for earnings-per-share and $4.06 billion for revenues. Says the financial web site First Call today, "Shares of Google are trading lower into the company's earnings report tonight amid generally low expectations, as investors and analysts brace for a slowdown in online advertising. Also, Google will likely maintain its policy of not providing an internal forecast, leaving some uncertainty in the minds of investors and analysts."
Look for Google's growth to be possibly slowed by lousy ad sales and an increasingly robust U.S. dollar. Cowen analyst Jim Friedland says as much, noting that he was lowering his estimate for Google's quarter and for FY09, based on "a weaker macro outlook exacerbated by the bank crisis," and a rapid rise in the dollar over the past two months.
Another analyst, Mark Mahaney of Citigroup says that he sees Google's net revenue expectations to be in line with the Street's estimate. So even if Google treads water today and barely misses or meets analyst estimates, the stock shouldn't suffer (it's trading at about $315 per share). Given the economic meltdown and the sliding consumer spending trend, just staying alive is no mean feat these days.