Earnings for chip giant Intel are due after the close of US trading. Wall Street analysts expect profits of $0.40 a share on sales of $12.59 billion. Dour sentiment surrounding Intel has meant shares lagged the broader rally in US equity markets this year. Year-to-date, the stock is up 5%, versus 10% for the benchmark S&P 500.
But the stock price has been a real dog since Intel’s last earnings report on Jan. 17.
That report showed profits declining 27% from the same period in the previous year.
And sales slumped 3% during the fourth quarter of 2012…
…the second straight quarter of declines.
Profit margins shrank sharply…
…as the company expanded away from its core, high-margin business of supplying chips for PCs, a market enduring some severe disruption. Mobile chips tend to be smaller, less complicated and cheaper than PC chips.
But analysts have been bracing for far worse…
After the fourth-quarter earnings, Wall Street analysts revised their estimates higher, but in the run-up to today’s report they’ve been steadily chopping their consensus view lower. So if Intel manages to exceed these lowered expectations, it’s not such a great achievement.
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