As investors await second-quarter earnings from leading technology companies, several warning signs indicate that save for special cases, it won't be a blow-out.
Results from some of the industry giants that report out of the regular order -- including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) , the top computer maker; Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), the No. 1 provider of Internet equipment; Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), the No. 1 database developer and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), the No. 3 PC maker, were OK but not extraordinary.
So the cluster of tech giants scheduled to report over the next two weeks will be largely in the same territory.
Based on analyst estimates, the likely standouts look to be International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), the No. 2 computer maker, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world's biggest software company. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, will also be key.
To be sure, everyone will be watching when Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), the No. 1 social networking site, reports its first results as a public company on July 26, to see how much earnings and revenue rose after all the analyst speculation.
Based on market researchers and others, investors know that sales of PCs are easing while those of mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones are skyrocketing. That's good for Intel and Microsoft.
Semiconductor makers, again including Intel but also including No. 2 Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) and Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) should also have benefited from the surge in new car sales in June, reported last week by General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F) and their Japanese and Italian peers.
The chipmakers, as well as makers of components such as TE Connectivity's (NYSE: TEL) and Molex Inc. (Nasdaq: MOLX), the giants in connectors, should have benefited from that. Indeed, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported a 1.4 percent gain for May over April, but still 3 percent below last year's $25.2 billion.
Here are estimates for some of the leading companies:
IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., should report second-quarter net income rose around 5 percent to $3.98 billion, or $3.43 a share, from last year's $3.77 billion, or $3.09.
Besides sales of new servers, IBM is expected to benefit from continued growth in services and software sales, bolstered by new long-term contracts as well as initial response to its IBM PureSystems initiative launched in April, a move designed to sell new software that is compatible with products from other vendors.
IBM shares have gained 3 percent this year, trading Monday around $189.69. The 52-week high is $210.69.
Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif., is scheduled to report second-quarter net income fell about 8 percent to $2.72 billion, or 53 cents a share, from $2.95 billion, or 54 cents, a year ago. Revenue, though, is believed to have risen about 4 percent to $13.59 billion.
The chip supplier, to all the computer makers including Apple, Detroit and industrial companies, is shipping its new generation Ultrabook chips for mobile platforms as well as older products for a wide range of computers and peripherals.
Shares of Intel have gained nearly 8 percent this year, trading Monday around $26.10.
Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., will report fourth-quarter results below last year, not counting for the one-time special charge to write down $6.3 billion for the acquisition of aQuantive, the online ad agency.
Analysts expect Microsoft net income from continuing operations to fall about 10 percent to $5.27 billion, or 62 cents a share, from $5.84 billion, or 69 cents a year ago.
Microsoft's revenue is expected to have gained about 4.6 percent to $18.17 billion. It's expected to rise sharply ahead as it starts selling Windows 8 sometime in the second half.
Google, in Mountain View, Calif., is also believed to be running very strongly. Second-quarter net income likely rose 17.5 percent to $3.5 billion, or $10.14 a share, from $2.85 billion, or $8.74 a year ago.
Google will also report its cash position, useful as it prepares to pay its first dividend, as well as lay out plans for its new Motorola Mobility unit, acquired for $12.5 billion in the quarter.
Google shares have given back 9.5 percent this year, trading late Monday around $584.38.
Apple, in Cupertino, Calif., likely had another bang-up quarter. Analysts expect it to report third-quarter net jumped around 33 percent to $9.74 billion, or $10.34 a share, from $7.31 billion or $7.79 a year earlier.
Investors will find out exactly how many iPhone 4S, iPads, Macbooks and other products were sold, along with other services for the iCloud.
Apple shares, as is their custom, are trading higher near the release, at $611.81, up $6.03 in Monday trading. Their all-time high was $644 in April.
Texas Instruments, the Dallas-based No. 2 U.S. semiconductor maker, is expected to say second-quarter net dropped about 28 percent to $484.3 million, or 41 cents a share, from $673 million, or 57 cents, a year earlier, consistent with its earlier warning.
TI's customers are in computing and the major cell phone makers, as well as in Detroit and industrial markets. Unlike Intel, which makes its money in microprocessors, TI makes money across-the-board and suffers when the industrials ease.
Facebook, in Menlo Park, Calif., is expected to issue its second-quarter results with net income of $302.4 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with $240 million a year ago, before the initial public offering.
Facebook's revenue is expected to be around $1.15 billion, a gain of 28 percent from last year. But it would be only slightly above the $1.05 billion in the first quarter this year, which would bear out analyst worries that growth in revenue is slowing down.
There's plenty of time for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to provide details. As well, Facebook's IPO brought in a record $16 billion in technology, plenty to fuel acquisitions, research and development.
Shares of Facebook traded late Monday at $32.26, up 53 cents, or about 15 percent below their IPO price of $38. They've traded as low as $25.52.