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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


By William Trent, CFA of Stock Market Beat

Corning Inc. (GLW), the largest maker of glass for liquid crystal display televisions and computer monitors, warned third-quarter results would miss analysts’ forecasts as customers try to reduce excess inventories. All but the most astute observers were apparently surprised by this, as the shares declined 8 percent in after-hours trading, and are now off 24 percent from the April high.

According to the Reuters story:
The market “has been over-hyped a little bit,” said John Harmon, an analyst at Needham & Co. who has a “strong buy” rating on Corning’s stock.
“But these are natural seasonal patterns,” he said. “As there’s more capacity added in the industry, these seasonal patterns will be more pronounced.”

The market was over-hyped a lot, and it is hard to see how adding capacity will make seasonal patterns more pronounced. If there is limited supply, seasonal changes in demand can have a big impact. If there is lots of supply, the seasonality should matter less. At any rate, the LCD makers have been insisting that a seasonal uptick was right around the corner for months now. Consumers have been buying up flat panel TVs at a rapid rate, but the manufacturers built supply even faster, then blaming their mistakes on lower than expected TV sales in advance of the Super Bowl/Olympics/World Cup/Fall TV Season/Holidays… well, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

“We need to be cautious about the potential negative impact that economic conditions and political tensions could have on consumer sentiment,” Chief Financial Officer James Flaws said in a statement. “The LCD market is strongly weighted toward the fourth quarter and we need a robust retail holiday season to achieve our goals.”

If only the consumer can hold on for another six months.

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