No one wants chips or PCs

Microsoft down, Motorola down, Intel, NatSemi, Apple, BATM...

The tech sector took another battering in the world's stock exchanges yesterday, sparking off a mild panic in markets, banks and overpaid analysts. It doesn't look good, demand for both chips and PCs are both said to be down, profit-warnings have become de rigeur and Rick Sherlund - Goldman Sachs' man - has lowered his estimates of Microsoft's earnings.

We've already covered Intel, Apple and NatSemi, but now Motorola says its income for the next two quarters will be nearly half what was expected. It blamed lower demand and delays in cost savings (?!). Mind you, the share price held up, dropping just 0.35 per cent (although The Grauniad says it's 3.5 per cent).

BATM Advanced Communications wasn't so lucky. Again, sales will be less than expected but the chief exec bravely said: "This is not a profit warning." Didn't make any difference and BATM's share price was halved before you could say "high-speed switches suck".

Microsoft's shares coughed up eight per cent of their value after Rick Sherlund cupped the company's balls by announcing he had pondered the PC market and decided MS' was going to earn $125 million less than he had previously thought.

But that's not all. The chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Sir Howard Davies, has written to 34 banks exclaiming "Don't panic!" All these heavy losses by telecoms businesses - we're trying never to use the word "3G" ever again - has left a few banks nursing a headache, but Howie wanted people to know he wasn't worried. It has the opposite effect of course and now the banks are getting jittery, on top of the epileptic stock market.

So that's it, we might as well all pack up and go home. Fun while it lasted though. ®

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