AMD (NYSE:$AMD) has had possibly one of the roughest couple of years that a company can have and still be functional.Serious underperformance of the last two top-end CPU cores – “Bulldozer” and “Piledriver” – versus Intel’s (NASDAQ:$INTC) Sandy Bridge derivatives have seriously degraded market share in the personal computing space due to real-world single-threaded performance among other issues.Only in the low-power, low-cost – and therefore low-margin – business could AMD compete with anything Intel had to offer.Its Brazos E-series APU’s built on the 40nm ‘Bobcat’ core were head and shoulders above anything Intel could muster from its aging Atom line. And it’s there where the hopes of AMD’s resurrection will be placed.
Last year, was the year of the write down at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). New CEO Meg Whitman finally began cleaning up the messes of her predecessors and took an $8.8 billion write down on Autonomy and another $10.8 billion related to the 2008 acquisition of EDS and the stock retreated back to 2002 levels, the year when HP acquired Compaq for $25 billion ushering in the days of cheap laptops and board room squabbles. But to start 2013 HP finally delivered news that wasn’t outright awful and for that the market responded with a massive short-covering rally.
Its latest quarterly results beat analysts’ estimates and it raised its FY-2013 outlook somewhat. After destroying more than $30 billion in ill-advised M&A deals over the past decade, HP finally showed up for work. I hate to be mean about this but, frankly, the situation is embarrassing for one of the truly innovative companies of all time.
Texas Instruments (TXN), the world’s leading analog chipmaker and third largest semiconductor manufacturer, reported an 11% drop in quarterly income to $264 million as revenues dropped by 13% to $2.98 billion, just managing to beat the revenue estimates by around $30 million. Operating profits have dropped by 62% from $365 million in Q4-2011 to $139 million in Q4 2012. Excluding a tax benefit of $0.15 per share, the earnings per share was $0.08, 1 cent more than analysts’ estimate. The long-term story for TI has been its unwillingness to commit to the future in mobile computing which ultimately pushed its OMAP SoC to the fringes of the ARM (ARMH) revolution in smartphones.
In what has to be bad news for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) the latest sales figures for China’s smartphone industry have hit the web via Taiwan’s premier rumor-monger, Digitimes. Compiling data from iiMedia they have reported that more than 77% of all smartphones sold in China in 2012 cost less than ¥2000, or ~$320. Samsung leads the way with 22.5% of sales while Apple grabbed just 7.7%. IT is the rise, however, of the Chinese manufacturers that need to be taken seriously.
The Russian search engine giant Yandex NV(NASDAQ:$YNDX) recently surprised Wall Street by revealing that it has surpassed Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:$MSFT) Bing to become the fourth biggest search engine in the world in terms of number of searches according to ComScore’s 2012 data. A total of 4.6 billion searches were conducted on Yandex in November and 4.8 billion in December as opposed to Bing’s 4.5 billion searches in each of those months. However, this says more about the relative popularity of Microsoft’s sites than it does about changes within in the search business. Ultimately this is good news for the growth of Russian internet usage and Yandex itself but Bing’s inability to truly grab market share from Google (NASDAQ:$GOOG) and Baidu (NASDAQ:$BIDU) is a separate issue entirely.
Peter Pham is an author, international fund manager, and a registered financial director by the Cayman Monetary Authority (CIMA). In 2013 he published his first book entitled, The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns. He currently manages the portfolio of a global hedge fund and runs an asset management company, Phoenix Capital. (read more)
The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns
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