31 January, 2008

Internet Giants Falling on Guidance, Eyes Turn to Google

Earnings season for technology, especially growth technology stocks, such as the Internet sector, is typically very volatile as results speak in one language and guidance speaks another. Many companies offer guidance for future results in an effort to be more transparent to investors, but one poster-child of the Internet, Google (GOOG), does not.

The guidance game has hurt the big Internet players over the past weeks as Yahoo (YHOO), Ebay (EBAY) and now Amazon (AMZN) posted decent to good results but cut outlooks, or provided outlooks below Analyst expectations. In fact VMware (VMW) saw its valuation cut by 30% in the aftermath of its results and guidance. The growth game is a volatile one to be sure as with growth comes outsized Price-to-Earnings ratios which can contract quickly and violently when economic factors come to the forefront.

With the Federal Reserve doing all it can with Interest Rates and the Government passing through the House an economic package bill of about $150Billion it seems like the US can find its footing in the 2nd half of the year without slipping into no-growth economics. The big recession that Traders feared for months can be averted. Until then, every executive seems to be taking the cautious approach, which is making things uneasy for Investors.

Eyes will focus on Google next as the Internet giant reports its earnings after the bell today.
Analysts expect another stellar quarter with about 50% year over year growth. Google is notorious for not giving guidance and being very tight lipped about its future expectations and projects. With this company, traders only hear one voice and depending on which ear you're hearing with, that could be a good thing or a bad thing come Friday morning.

Disclosure: Author is long GOOG

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