What's going on at QLogic
On Wednesday, QLogic reported earnings of $0.36 in line with the most recent estimate. Revenues were $129.8 million, missing estimates by a hair. Guidance for next quarter is at the low end of the range. Investors are reacting positively, though, with shares rising nearly 5% today.
Despite the enthusiasm, I'm not thrilled with QLogic's prospects. It has a decent track record of beating earnings, a PEG of only 1.1, and almost $8 per share in cash. So what's the problem? Well, future growth looks to be anemic. Earnings and revenue estimates have been on a slow and steady trend lower due to all the warnings. Ouch.
Clearly there's a problem. Maybe there is less demand for storage. Maybe its products are becoming a commodity like has happened to disk drives and DRAMs. The market's verdict is obvious, though, telling anyone who will listen that something is not right and you may be better off staying away. The stock has badly lagged the Nasdaq this year.
Is there visibility of a turnaround for QLogic? That's hard to say, but I'm intrigued by the potential comparison to disk drives. That sector used to be chock-full of great growth stocks that are now gone. Remember Connor Peripherals or Applied Magnetics? Commoditization of a company's products is very bad news. Perhaps that is the problem.
I believe it would take an uncommon understanding of HBAs to predict a positive turnaround. But that is clearly not the investment path of least resistance.
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Fool contributor Roger Nusbaum is an investment manager and wildland firefighter in Prescott, Ariz. At press time, neither he nor his clients owned any of the stocks mentioned, but his wife's cousin works at Qlogic.