With the third quarter coming to a close, it's earnings season once again, and for the tech sector that means some of the biggest heavyweights will unveil just how they did over the past three months. At the same time, tech continues to be a hotbed of activity as merger activity, buy-outs and IPOs continue to surge in the market. Overall, the technology sector is certainly earning its growth moniker.
Discount Brokers Comparison: Your one-stop shop for finding the perfect broker for your investments.
With mobile equipment and cloud computing dominating most of the technology headlines, the biggest story - and biggest IPO since the Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) flop - on was the recent Workday (NYSE:WDAY) public offering on October 12. Workday sells cloud-based software that is used to run human resources and corporate financial systems. Touting competitors such as stalwarts Oracle (Nasdaq:ORCL) and SAP (NYSE:SAP), the company hopes to break the traditional enterprise software mold by using the cloud to offer a more streamlined process.
Investors seemed pleased with that notion. While the IPO raised nowhere near Facebook's $16 billion, Workday did pull in the largest amount of any technology company since the social network's IPO. Overall, the company raised about $675 million with the offering, but perhaps more importantly - unlike some recent tech IPOs - the software as a service (SaaS) firm's shares surged on the Nasdaq. Workday shares jumped roughly 74% to end the day at $48.69. The IPO was priced at $28 a share, above the initial range of $24-$26. Workday is still unprofitable, but so far shares and investors don't seem too fazed by that fact. With its first full week of trading ahead, it will be interesting to see how the market continues to react to the cloud-based firm.
SEE: IPO Basics: Introduction
Texas Instruments (Nasdaq:TXN) may have found a buyer for its mobile processor unit in an unlikely source - online retail. According to tech-news outlet CNET, online retail superstar Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) is in advanced talks with TI to purchase the business unit. Texas Instruments announced last month that it was planning to sell its mobile processors division, as that market was "not broad enough for its goals." TI is facing plenty of pressure in the mobile chip space and while the division isn't unprofitable, it isn't making a ton of money either.
Amazon uses TI's chips in all of its mobile devices, including its new Kindle Fire HD - as does rival Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BNS). While the purchase is just speculation at this point, the move is a stark departure for Amazon. If it goes through, the successful e-tailer will now be in uncharted territory.
Finally, on the analyst front, both flash chip maker SanDisk (Nasdaq:SNDK) and telecom Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) received welcomed upgrades, while analysts at Needham & Company downgraded shares of Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq:RVBD). Citing the wide area networks specialist's valuation, shares were downgraded to "buy" from "strong buy."
SEE: A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry
This week promises to be a big one for the technology sector as some of the largest tech blue chips report.
Online consumer-to-consumer market eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) will report on the 18th and analysts expect the firm to earn 55 cents a share. The big highlight for the quarter is expected to be the continued momentum from its PayPal unit - which has seen great growth from its new Swipe card reader/app - as well as the possible turnaround in eBay's bread and butter Marketplace division. Analysts expect that division to regain strength after eBay invested heavily in improving user experience.
One of the biggest earnings reports this week will come from giant Google (Nasdaq:GOOG). The search, software and device maker is expected to bring in roughly $10.56 a share for the quarter. Along with the earnings announcement, investors will be looking for growth in Google's own devices as well as at how Android is making money for the firm. Google currently gives away the software virtually for firm to third party device makers.
The Bottom Line
Earnings season is well underway in tech as some of the sectors largest and most well-known firms begin unveiling how they did. At the same time, IPOs, mergers and buy-outs continue to gain steam. All in all, these events promises to make the next few months quite interesting in the sector.
At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not own any shares in any company mentioned in this article.