Intel and AMD are due to report their second quarter earnings this week.
Analysts are not too optimistic that the chip makers will be able to please investors. Forbes is reporting that Bernstein Research has cut estimates for both companies. Analyst Stacy Rasgon said that he now expects Intel to post a profit of $2.44 per share, instead of $2.48, while AMD is forecasted at $0.52 instead of $0.90.
"We have taken our Q3 numbers for Intel down (as has much of the Street as of late), and would not be surprised (given PC data points) to see some caution in the guide, or at the very least to see a reduction in full-year expectations (currently for ‘high single digit’ growth), given we believe upside forthcoming from HDD snapback appears increasingly unlikely, and we remain unconvinced that Ultrabooks and Windows 8 will drive significant excess volume particularly given the high price points of reasonably-specced, touch-enabled systems," Rasgon wrote in a note to clients. "We would note that, given how bad AMD’s performance was, whatever Intel says is likely to look good by comparison."
Meanwhile, Nvidia could be following, as TheStreet downgraded Nvidia stock from Buy to Hold. TheStreet said that it found "weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself."
The rather cautious analyst notes are released on the heels of Q2 PC shipment estimates that were lower than initially expected. Especially Ultrabook sales have been in the crosshairs and there is reasonable doubt surfacing whether this notebook class is taking off as well as anticipated by Intel. Pat Moorhead, formerly an executive with AMD and now an industry analyst, says that the idea that Ultrabooks are failing is false, mainly, because there has been no significant supply of Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks in Q2.
As true as this statement is, it may not help Intel that much during earnings call week if PC sales are, in fact, stagnating. Given the huge expectations Intel has built around the Ultrabook class, there will be questions as to why sales are not increasing at a much faster pace.