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International Business Machines Corp
Seagate Technology PLC
Computer hardware and storage companies including Dell Inc. (DELL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Co. and Seagate Technology may earn less profit because weaker economic growth will sap consumer spending, according to Bear Stearns Cos.
Bear Stearns analysts cut their 2009 profit forecast for Dell by 15 cents a share to $1.85 and lowered this year's share- price estimate by 10 percent to $36. Hewlett-Packard's 2008 profit estimate was reduced by 10 cents a share to $3.30 and its share-price forecast lowered by 2.9 percent to $68.
``While we believe that most companies that we track are likely to meet or exceed December quarter results, recent economic data has highlighted weakness in the consumer, which often spreads to the enterprise,'' the analysts wrote in a note to investors.
Apple's share-price estimate for 2008 was reduced to $233 from $249 because slowing demand for its iPod media players may hurt revenue, the analysts said.
Research In Motion, the maker of Blackberry e-mail phone, had its share-price target cut 6.3 percent to $150, while the estimate for Sun Microsystems Inc. shares was reduced by 8.7 percent to $27.15.
The analysts also lowered their share-price estimate for Seagate Technology (STX), the world's largest maker of hard-disk drivers, to $65 from $71 on concern about weaker demand for notebook PCs. They reduced their share-price forecast for IBM by 16 percent to $133.
Technology stocks rallied today after IBM posted earnings and sales that topped analysts' projections.
``We have not changed any ratings since our primary concern is macro-economics and not competitive dynamics,'' the analysts wrote. ``Slower consumer spending for notebooks or smartphones could have an adverse impact on Apple and Research In Motion's earnings, but it doesn't change their lead nor would it presumably change new product plans.''
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