When Kent Alder, CEO of TTM Technologies (NASDAQ:TTMI), presented his latest earnings report as another item in "our long history of delivering solid financial performance," he was telling the truth.

The quick-turn circuit board manufacturer delivered 7% sales growth year over year to $173 million in the second quarter, 47% higher earnings at $0.22 per share, and gross margins above management guidance. That's all pretty good stuff for a pure hardware specialist, and the company even refinanced the last of the debt remaining from the acquisition of Tyco's (NYSE:TYC) printed circuit board group two years ago.

In my opinion, Alder was also trying to draw attention away from some unpleasant news he'd rather not have shared. Next quarter looks grim from where Mr. Alder stands, and TTM's third-quarter sales and profit guidance fell far below Street expectations. In a worst-case scenario, there will be no growth at all from last year's $0.19 profit per share on $163 million in revenue, with 4.9% sales growth and 32% earnings growth in the best of all possible worlds.

Mr. Market noticed anyway, which is why the stock is so cheap today. Alder did not seem to offer any explanation or excuse for the gloomy forecast in the earnings release. So we'll have to jump to our own conclusions here: Which of TTM's major customers are in such dire straits that they can't justify paying extra for fast manufacturing materials? Take a look at the top five customers in 2007, including ratings from Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investor intelligence community:


Sales Growth

EPS Growth

CAPS Rating

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO)




Honeywell International (NYSE:HON)




Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR)




Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)




Raytheon (NYSE:RTN)




Data from Capital IQ, reflecting quarterly year-over-year growth in the last reported quarter.

Unless TTM's incoming order volumes changed a lot since this quarter closed in June, it's going to be tough to pin the blame on Juniper or Raytheon. But respective peers Cisco and Northrop Grumman are singing a different song. With inconsistent trends like that when you go industry by industry, I think we're looking at single companies in trouble rather than entire sectors. This is not a replay of the 2006 cell phone meltdown, and it's hard to reach any useful conclusions.

As for TTM itself, the stock just got cheap. Cautious investors may want to wait for more meat on TTM's numbers and postpone their buy orders, while the more adventurous among us could get a piece of an excellent little company with a unique market position at fire-sale rates. Your choice, Fool.

Related Foolishness:

Tyco International is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and TTM Technologies is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure puts a mean spin on its backhand shots, dude.