Thursday, January 10, 2008

Techs Are New Year's Flop

--Tech stocks are suffering the brunt of the stock market's recent beating. Intel Corp., for example, is down 15% this year, Google Inc. is down 6% and Apple Inc. has fallen about 10%. The eight days through Tuesday were the worst run for tech stocks since 2002. --These companies are expected to report boffo earnings growth of 22.8% for 2007's fourth quarter, up from just 2.8% growth a year earlier, one of the best quarterly results in years. --But investors anticipate downbeat comments about 2008's likely results in the weeks ahead. The housing crunch and worries about the U.S. economy have created uncertainty about whether consumers will keep spending. Capital spending usually lags the overall economy, so it could weaken early this year. --Technology-research firm IDC last month cut its projection for global tech-spending growth in 2008 to between 5.5% and 6%, down from a previous forecast of 6.6% and from 2007's projected growth of 6.9%. The U.S. is likely to be particularly hard hit -- Forrester Research forecasts U.S. tech-spending growth of 5.2% for 2008, down from a previous 2008 forecast of 6.4% and from 5.7% in 2007. --U.S. diversified-stock mutual funds now have an average 19.3% of their assets in tech stocks, according to Morningstar, less than tech's 21% share of the S&P 500. In 2006, U.S. diversified-stock funds had an average 20.6% of their assets in tech stocks, more than the S&P 500's 20.3%.

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