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Tech’s Big Day Tarnished as Microsoft, Google, TI Disappoint

Tech’s Big Day Tarnished as Microsoft, Google, TI Disappoint

(Bloomberg) -- US tech stocks tumbled in after-hours trading after some of the industry’s biggest companies reported disappointing results, roiling wagers that this year’s $5.5 trillion selloff had reached bottom.

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The quarterly updates from Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. underscored growing pressure on everything from corporate IT budgets to digital ad spending and chips for industrial machinery. Nasdaq 100 Index futures lost as much as 2.4%, reversing an earlier rally on Tuesday, as the results refocused investor attention on the damage to earnings and the economy from the Federal Reserve’s rapid interest-rate hikes.

“The global economy is at a tipping point,” said Jessica Amir, strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “The stronger dollar will continue to hurt businesses’ forward earnings, at a time when consumer demand is likely to fall with the reverse wealth effect expected to grip markets. Pressure remains on riskier asset classes such as tech.”

Signs of weakness were widespread. Microsoft posted its weakest quarterly sales growth in five years, throttled by the surging dollar, slumping PC demand and faltering advertising revenue. At Alphabet’s most important financial engine, the search and related businesses, sales fell shy of analyst estimates as spiraling inflation crimped growth in digital advertising. Both stocks fell more than 6%.

The selloff in extended to other consumer and tech giants, with Amazon.com Inc. dropping 4.9% in late trading. Those that derive sales from online advertising followed Alphabet lower, with Meta Platforms Inc. and Pinterest Inc. dropping more than 4% each. Among software companies moving in the wake of Microsoft, Datadog Inc. tumbled 7%, Snowflake Inc. fell 5% and Salesforce Inc. dropped 3%.

The Nasdaq 100 Index has plunged more than 28% this year, on course for its worst annual performance since 2008.

The demand outlook was particularly dire in the semiconductor industry, which had been one of the hottest sectors during the pandemic. Texas Instruments, whose chips go into everything from home appliances to missiles, saw shares tumble after its weak forecast signaled that the chip slump is spreading beyond computing and phones into other businesses. The stock lost 5%, while Analog Devices Inc., ON Semiconductor Corp., and Marvell Technology Inc. also dipped.

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. reported a 60% decline in profit and said it would cut capital expenditures by more than half. It warned of “an unprecedented deterioration in market conditions.” Hynix is joining fellow memory makers Micron Technology Inc. and Kioxia Holdings Corp. in slashing production plans as chip prices tumble.

The silver lining for investors is that the eventual pullback in supply may ultimately prove beneficial for profits -- and stock prices. Hynix shares, which have lost 28% this year, were up as much as 2.1%. Samsung Electronics Co. climbed 3%, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. added 1.4%.

“Inventory will decrease accordingly and demand will rise again,” said Greg Roh, head of technology research at HMC Investment & Securities.

--With assistance from Sohee Kim and Ishika Mookerjee.

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