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Qualcomm hit by the slowdown

November 6, 2008: 5:15 PM ET

By Scott Moritz

Qualcomm (QCOM) joined tech's growing crowd of downward revisionists as the slumping global economy forced the company to slash its financial targets.

While the San Diego wireless chipmaker turned in a strong fiscal fourth quarter Thursday, Qualcomm like several tech giants - including Cisco (CSCO), Intel (INTC) and Apple (AAPL) - have lowered financial projections as business took a nose dive this fall.

Qualcomm posted adjusted earnings of $1.06 billion or 63 cents a share, a 17% increase over the 54 cent pro forma profit in the year ago period and 3 cents above analysts estimates, according to Thomson First Call.

Sales for the company's fourth quarter ended in September were $3.3 billion, up $1 billion or 45 % over the same period a year ago. Analysts had anticipated revenue of $2.86 billion.

Similar to Cisco, which saw strong pre-October results yet dire post-October conditions, Qualcomm pulled down its forecast for the current quarter.

"As a result of the credit crisis and the economic uncertainty, our guidance reflects slower end-market device growth for 2009 than previously anticipated," said CEO Paul Jacobs in a statement.

Looking ahead, Qualcomm cut its December quarter adjusted earnings forecast to a range around 48 cents or 8% below year-ago levels. Sales are now expected to drop 4% on a year-over-year basis to $2.4 billion roughly flat sequentially. Analysts had been looking for earnings of 61 cents on revenue of $2.9 billion.

Qualcomm shares dropped 3% in after-hours trading after closing at $33.05 Thursday.

Qualcomm, which makes components for cell phones and licenses wireless technology, says December-quarter chip shipments will drop to 62.5 million from the 79 million level a year ago. And the company predicts the average selling price for mobile phones will fall to $205 from $211 last year.

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