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The gloom that has been surrounding the IT industry of late has deepened with the publication of analyst reports that take a pessimistic view on the prospects of leading technology companies.

A report by Salomon Smith Barney said IBM's quarterly revenue will be impacted by a weakening in demand for personal computers and high-end hard disc drives and the adverse effect on its business from exchange rates. These factors have led the analyst to cut its estimates of IBM's sales from $26.1bn to $25.7bn.

Meanwhile Lehman Brothers analyst Daniel Niles lowered his earnings estimates for both Dell and Intel because of a slowdown in demand for servers and processors. The earnings estimates by around 10 per cent.

Bloomberg reports that Niles told clients in a research note that a build up in inventory and a slow down in demand are "likely to create a horrible environment in the first half of the year for the PC industry as well as their component suppliers".

Lehman Brothers' Niles predicted that the growth of personal computer sales in the corporate market will be lower than the 10 per cent previously forecast. ®

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