As the Dow Slips, IBM Mulls a Chip Exit, Finisar Plunges, and InvenSense Launches a New Product

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) down a bit under 1% this week, the bears can claim a small victory. However, even if a correction may be imminent, long-term investors should ultimately be keeping tabs on the macroeconomic situation as well as the results of key bellwethers. So far, earnings seem to be continuing to trend upward, so a sub-1% move down after hitting record highs isn't exactly cause for concern.

A wafer of IBM chips. Source: IBM.

In the Dow, IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) made the headlines this week with yet more rumors that the technology giant is preparing to sell its chip manufacturing operations to privately held Globalfoundries. While IBM has traditionally been well known for its chip manufacturing technology development, its chip business -- both for internally designed chips and for contract manufacturing -- have become a drag on the company's earnings, allegedly losing about $1.5 billion per year. With IBM looking to grow earnings during a multi-year period of flattish revenues, it is looking to ax losing businesses to boost profitability. 

Finisar (NASDAQ: FNSR  ) plunged after it reported earnings on Thursday night. While the company came in mostly in line for the current quarter (EPS missed by $0.02; revenues beat by $2.08 million), it was the guidance it issued that caused some concerns. In particular, while revenues look to come in at a robust $320 million to $335 million, handily beating the $317 million consensus, EPS guidance of $0.30-$0.34 was well below the $0.41 consensus. Finisar blames this weakness on both "annual price reductions for telecom products" and the impact of its recent acquisition of u2t Photonics AG, whose products carry a lower margin. While the margin weakness is disappointing, the long-term secular growth trends highlighted here seem to still be in play.

One of InvenSense's many products. Source: InvenSense.

InvenSense (NYSE: INVN  ) , a leading vendor of MEMS motion sensors, this week announced a new gyroscope for wearable devices. In particular, the company claims that its new part, known as the ITG-3701, offers the smallest size, lowest profile, and lowest power in the industry, making it ideal for wearable applications, with sports and concussion analysis cited as the biggies. According to the company, the new product supports a range of +/- 4000 degrees per second -- higher than the more common +/- 2000 degrees per second -- which should make it ideal for applications such as the precise analysis of gold or tennis racquet swings. If the wearable device market takes off, it looks as if InvenSense is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity.

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