Companies tied to the personal computer space are cheap, but likely not worth a buy given the industry's declining sales, Barron's says in its Technology Trader column. While Microsoft (MSFT), Intel
(INTC), Dell (DELL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Western Digital (WDC) and Seagate (STX) should likely be avoided, shares of EMC (EMC) and Qualcomm (QCOM) look attractive, Barron's contends.
I find it is better to cite the original source than a paraphrase sound bite.
The Technology Trader column said:
As Barron's said a month ago in our cover story on the future of the PC ("Bye-Bye, PCs," Oct. 22), the winds are blowing ill these days for the traditional computing business. Signs of that change continue to mount, and as they do, stocks at the heart of the PC business become cheaper and cheaper.
Microsoft trades for eight times next year's earnings; Intel (INTC) trades for 10 times next year's earnings, Dell (DELL) fetches a little over five times, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), an astoundingly low 3.7 times, and disk-drive makers Western Digital (WDC) and Seagate Technology (STX), just under five times.
Are any of these stocks worth dipping in a toe? Probably not.
The latest sign of the slide in the PC world was Dell's fiscal third-quarter report last Thursday, in which revenue missed analysts' expectations. The worst part of the report was the part that touched on PC demand. Consumer revenue fell by 23%, while sales of "mobility" products, primarily laptop computers, fell by 26%.
Plenty of other anecdotal evidence points to the rise of the non-PC world. Networking-equipment vendor F5 Networks (FFIV) told analysts on Thursday at its annual investment forum that by 2020, 71% of all computing work done by individuals will be "mobile or Web-based."