It should be a slow week for technology stocks, what with the holidays fast approaching and a dearth of any meaningful quarterly earnings surprises.
The former you know about, with Christmas only a week away. Late December is notoriously dull for the stock market as traders think more about fun and family than they do financial statements.
The latter is just a quirk of the calendar. The only meaningful earnings rollouts this week come from Micron Devices and Oracle. Zacks Research that Oracle should meet analyst expectations but Micron could disappoint. Says Charles Rotblut, CFA, Senior Market Analyst for Zacks.com, "Two analysts have cut their fiscal first-quarter estimates on Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) within the last 30 days. The revisions caused the average projected loss to worsen by two cents to 14 cents per share. The most accurate consensus is even more bearish at a loss of 16 cents per share. Micron has missed expectations twice during the past four quarters."
Don't think that investors haven't noticed. Shares in Micron Technologies Inc. fell near their 52-week low in early trading today as investors have seemingly had enough of sub-par performance in the memory-chip market.
Jefferies & Co. analyst John Lau blames a lousy global market for memory chips, forcing chip providers like Micron to slash prices. Lau says he saw prices halved in a memory chip used in personal computers that dominate the fast-growing market in developing countries. The good news, according to Lau, is that Micron, one of the world's largest memory chip makers, is taking significant steps to reduce costs and reduced its capital expenditure program.
Still, Lau lowered his 2008 revenue estimates to $6.1 billion from $6.74 billion and widened his loss per share estimate to 22 cents a share from 8 cents a share. Lau also reduced his 2008 stock price target for Micron to $12 from $15.
But even reching $12 could be tough for Micron investors. The stock has struggled all year, falling from a high of $14 to its present level of about $7.80 per share.
Micron reports on Thursday. I doubt it will be a very Merry Christmas for company shareholders.