It’s no secret that one big key to unlocking the business and consumer technology spending lockbox is easier credit from banks and other lenders.
On the surface, the better-than-expected earnings news from big banks like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase gave a much-needed boost to that theory.
If the big banks are claiming huge quarterly profits, the thinking goes, then credit should begin easing, borrowers can start getting money again, and tech companies will see a good rebound in sales.
That would not only boost tech stocks and provide more cash for research and development, it would save potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs in the tech sector.
If only that were so. As Business Week so aptly points out this week, there is no reason to conclude that banks have turned a corner. The newsweekly points to the upsurge in the home refinancing sector as proof that we’re not out of the woods yet. While fees have soared as rates have plunged, but the fact remains that many people cannot refinance.
Analysts also point to the fact that the big banks are already heading back to Washington, hats in hand, looking for more bailout money. The Wall Street Journal says that Congress and the White House are prepared to give tens of billions of dollars more to banks – if they follow the strict borrowing guidelines.
So let’s not get too excited about seemingly good earnings from financial institutions. It’s an ongoing shadow game between Wall Street and Washington – but it really serves the tech sector no purpose
To get a more detailed picture read the Business Week article at
Meanwhile, earnings from big technology companies will continue to roll in this week, giving us a clearer picture of the sector and the overall economy. IBM has already posted its numbers and the reaction from Wall Street has been generally positive – especially IBM’s guidance comments that the company expects revenue to increase by the end of 2009.
We’re looking forward to Yahoo, Microsoft, and Apple to release their Q1 earnings. Google and Intel have already released their numbers, with Intel reporting a big falloff in global chip sales and Google showing that profits were on the upside, but it’s all-important advertising profit center had softened for the quarter. Worse, Google announced that ad sales would continue to decrease for the rest of 2009 – in direct contradiction to IBM’s rosier 2009 forecast.
The mixed news on tech earnings has left analysts scratching their heads.
"This earnings season, we'll continue to see a tech sector that is just as mixed as ever: The good guys will continue to do OK, and the bad guys will get whacked," said Carl Howe, analyst with Yankee Group. "It's going to be a rough environment no matter who you are, because it's hard to say that things are all turned around right now."
Right now, that’s the reality – despite talk about “glimmers of hope”, I think we’re still in for a rough ride for the rest of 2009.