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Why AMD and IBM are Falling as Google Rallies

By Sam Mattera – Jul 18, 2014 at 11:30AM

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Shares of AMD and IBM fell on Friday as Google shares posted a modest gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.26%) posted a modest gain early on Friday, rising more than 80 points as of 11:20 a.m. EDT. The gain comes despite the fall in shares of  Dow Jones heavyweight IBM (IBM 1.45%) -- the tech giant lost around 0.4% in morning trading. Other tech stocks were active as well, including AMD (AMD 0.13%) and Google (GOOG 2.65%) (GOOGL 2.81%).

IBM drops following quarterly results
IBM's financials came in better than analysts anticipated on Thursday: The company posted earnings per share of $4.32 on revenue of $24.36 billion, better than consensus estimates of around $4.29 earnings per share and revenue of $24.12 billion. IBM reiterated its guidance for the fiscal year, pledging total yearly EPS of $18.

Yet IBM shares fell. Investors may have been focused on revenue declines in individual segments; IBM's services business declined modestly, its global technology services revenue fell 1.3% year over year, and its services backlog dropped 1% on an annual basis.

These are not major declines, but they may be significant in the context of IBM's ongoing transformation. With the company selling its commodity hardware businesses, it is focused on services more than ever before.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Google rallies despite missing on earnings
Google contrasted sharply with IBM: Shares of the search giant rose on Friday even though the company's earnings of $6.08 fell short of analyst expectations of $6.25.

Revenue, however, was a bit better: $12.67 billion exceeded expectations of $12.32 billion.

Investors may have been keying in on paid clicks and cost per click -- the lifeblood of Google's advertising business. In that sense, things were good: Paid clicks rose 25% on an annual basis. Cost per click declined 6% year over year, but that was better than a 9% annual decline last quarter.

During its earnings call, Google revealed that 1 million Chromebooks were sold into schools -- a record quarter for the company's budget laptops. Management also said its Chromecast streaming dongle was as popular as ever, though it declined to reveal exact sales figures. At any rate, it's great news for Google, as Chromebooks and the Chromecast help drive use of its cloud services.

Also of note, Nikesh Arora -- Google's chief business officer -- announced that he was leaving the company to join SoftBank, a Japanese tech and telecommunications conglomerate. At SoftBank, he will be CEO of Internet and media operations.

The loss of Arora could be a blow to Google, as he's been at the company since 2004 and has held his current position since 2011. Investors, however, do not seem particularly phased.

AMD plunges after earnings report
AMD shares lost almost one-fifth of their value early on Friday after the company reported a disappointing quarter. AMD announced that it had earned $0.02 per share, slightly less than the $0.03 analysts had been expecting. Revenue of $1.44 billion was largely in line with consensus estimates.

However, guidance came in light: AMD expects third-quarter revenue of around $1.42 billion to $1.51 billion. Prior to the report, analysts had been looking for about $1.57 billion.

AMD shares had experienced a notably rally in recent months. Prior to Friday's sell-off, shares had gained more than 20% since AMD last reported earnings. Investors may have been expecting a rebound in PC sales to help AMD blow away analysts' expectations.

To make matters worse, two firms (Merrill Lynch and FBR Capital) downgraded AMD in the wake of its report. Both cited weak guidance and a lack of visibility.

Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and International Business Machines. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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