Taking stock of earnings: Intel, Yahoo aftermath, plus eBay peek

‘Tis the earnings season, let’s take a look at what’s going on with companies that have just reported or are reporting their results in the next few days.

Intel on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and expressed optimism about sales in the second quarter and beyond. A couple of analysts who spoke with Mercury News’ Steve Johnson also seemed chipper about the prospects of the world’s largest chip maker, which managed to boost sales after the Thailand floods and despite the rise of mobile devices. Still, Intel also reported that its profit fell 13 percent to $2.7 billion from the same period a year ago, so its shares are falling sharply Wednesday, continuing their decline in after-hours trading Tuesday. They’re down about 2 percent to $27.90 as of this post, along with IBM and others weighing down the rest of the stock markets.

By the way, some of the optimism by the Santa Clara company — which has been slow to get in on the smartphone boom — may come from its upcoming entry into that world. Without naming names, CEO Paul Otellini mentioned during the earnings call that “the world’s first Intel-architecture-based smartphone” will be out this week. Hayley Tsukayama of the Washington Post points out that Intel and Lenovo showed off the K800 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, when the chip maker also showed off ultrabooks and looked to be getting its mobile act together. (See ARM wrestling: Intel finally putting up a fight in mobile.)

• Meanwhile, Yahoo shares are on the rise the day after the Sunnyvale company beat expectations with its first quarterly revenue growth — 1 percent — in three years. Yahoo stock is up more than 2.75 percent to about $15.45 as of this post despite one analyst pointing out that the company’s “minority stake in their investments is generating more profit than their core business.”

Might investors have been reassured that Yahoo, a company in transition that has been slammed mercilessly for its lack of focus, finally has a CEO who has declared one? “I am convinced that we don’t need to reinvent who we are. We’re one of the leading media and communications companies in the world,” CEO Scott Thompson said during Tuesday’s earnings call (transcript).

Thompson made sure investors and analysts know he’s acting quickly with that focus in mind: Earlier this month he announced 2,000 job cuts, and during the call he said he is shutting down more than 50 Web properties and killing some technology initiatives. He also said the company is working on a “simpler” deal to make money off its stake in Alibaba. And he addressed Yahoo’s patent lawsuit against Facebook: “Other leading companies licensed our patented technologies and Facebook must do the same or change the way it operates.”

• As eBay prepares to report earnings after the markets close today, the focus once again is on PayPal, its payments division. The earnings previews about eBay mention the usual question about how its marketplace business is faring. But the San Jose company’s recent moves to expand the online-payments pioneer offline — in February, it rolled out a credit-card/mobile-phone service at Home Depot stores, for example — not only could be a boon to the company, it could be an indicator of the growing strength of the evolving payments market.

PayPal is competing with hot startup Square, founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, in the payments market. AllThingsD’s Tricia Duryee reports this morning that the San Francisco company is seeking a next round of funding that could value it at $4 billion. Duryee points out that eBay bought PayPal for more than $1 billion in 2002.

A FactSet analysts poll expects eBay to post profit of 52 cents a share on $3.15 billion in revenue. Shares of the San Jose company are down about 0.5 percent to about $35.90 as of this post.

 

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