The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down just under 1% this week, shedding 148.54 points for the week. However, the Dow is still within spitting distance of its all-time highs reached earlier during the week. While a correction may be imminent (and long overdue), long-term investors should keep an eye on the broader economic situation as well as the performance of various industry bellwethers.
On that note, chip-giant, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and networking behemoth Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) were prominent this week. Outside of the Dow's tech giants, Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) announced some interesting new products.
On Thursday night, Intel pre-announced its second-quarter results. The company now expects revenues of $13.7 billion (give or take $300 million), up from a prior $13 billion (give or take $500 million), and is now expecting some revenue growth for the year. The key trend driving this revenue blowout was strength in corporate PC sales. In addition, gross margin guidance for the quarter was lifted to 64% (up from 63%) and full-year gross margins should now be at the upper end of the prior 59%-63% range. While we will have to wait for the full Q2 results and Q3 guide to get a better picture of the longer-term trends in the broader PC market, the stock closed up 6% this week, handily outperforming the Dow.
Earlier this week, The Rayno Report ran a story alleging that Cisco's current CEO and chairman, John Chambers, is set to step down as early as September of this year as part of a broader corporate reorganization. Chambers is often criticized for the stagnation in the company's share price, though the underlying business performance (in particular, net income growth) has been quite robust. While fresh blood may not dramatically change the business' operating performance (remember, Cisco's share price stagnation has resulted from multiple compression from very lofty tech-bubble highs), it could drive improved sentiment.
Finally, Samsung, the South Korean consumer electronics behemoth, announced a new line of tablets known as the Galaxy Tab S in 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch variants. These tablets are targeted at the premium segment, offering a bevy of new features and a new industrial design aimed squarely at taking on Apple's iPad. The new Samsung tablets pack 2560x1600 Super AMOLED displays, are only 6.6 millimeters thick (compared with the iPad Air at 7.5 millimeters), and pack state-of-the-art mobile processors. However, the relevance of richly priced tablets in a market that's becoming a race to the bottom is questionable, which may be part of why Samsung's shares lost 3.8% in Friday's trading session.