This Week's Technology Events

By Ryan C. Fuhrmann | September 19, 2012 AAA

Technology industry earnings releases have slowed to a trickle, but this week will see a third quarter report from one of the largest software players in the world. In other news, smartphone providers have announced a slew of new product releases. This Friday will see the release of a new device from the current industry leader.

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Tech-Related Developments
Friday, Sept. 21 marks the day that Apple's (Nasdaq:AAPL) latest iPhone, the iPhone 5, will be available in its retail stores. Many stores will be ready to start selling the phone at 8 a.m., and preorders are currently available online for delivery when the phone officially comes to market. Wireless providers AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) are also accepting preorders and expect to ship the phone within two to three weeks.

The competitive landscape for mobile devices continues to heat up. Earlier in September, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) tried to steal some of Apple's thunder and announced it would be selling its next-generation phone, the Lumia 920. The phone will run on Windows 8 software, provided by Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT). A specific price or release date wasn't provided, however, demonstrating that Apple continues to combine better execution with a product that consumers cannot get enough of.

Recent and Upcoming Earnings
Networking and communications device provider Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq:SCMR) was scheduled to release its quarterly results earlier in the week. Analysts projected modest sales decline of 0.50% to below $13 million and negative profits of 13 cents, which would be a bigger loss than the negative 9 cents reported in last year's quarter. Sales should still grow nearly 10% to $53.3 million for the year, but the firm is still expected to lose around 35 cents per share for all of fiscal 2013.

Software giant Oracle (Nasdaq:ORCL) will report its third quarter results after the close of the market on Thursday, Sept. 20. Analysts and investors will be looking for insight into how the company is fending off, as well as embracing, the advances of cloud computing on its core database and middleware product offerings, the last of which helps companies link different information technology systems throughout its operations and different business units.

Analysts currently project minimal sales growth of 0.4% and total sales of just over $8.4 billion. The profit expectation currently stands at 53 cents per share, or 10.4% above last year's third quarter earnings of 48 cents per share. Full-year sales are projected to grow a much stronger 4.6% to nearly $39 billion, while profits should come in at $2.91 per share, or nearly 10% ahead of last year's earnings level. At the current share price of right around $33 per share, the forward earnings multiple is quite reasonable at 11.4.

The Bottom Line
The end of the third quarter at the end of the month will set the stage for earnings season a couple weeks following the end of September. Until then, earnings information will continue to trickle in, with the key excitement being the latest round of product releases and potential merger and acquisition activity in the industry.

At the time of writing, Ryan C. Fuhrmann was long shares of Microsoft but did not own shares any other company mentioned in this article.

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