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Markets fell after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting released Tuesday signaled no new stimulus from Team Bernanke.
The Fed believes the U.S. economy is improving well enough on its own and does not need additional stimulus. Many investors had been hoping for a third round of quantitative easing and sold on the news.
San Disk Price History
Concern from Europe also led to the stock slide, when a weak bond sale in Spain sent five-year yields surging to a near three-month high.
Shortly after noon, the Dow had lost 143 points, or 1.9%, the S&P 500 fell 15 points, or 1.1%, and the Nasdaq declined 52 points, or 1.68%.
SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq: SNDK): Shares of SanDisk slumped after the flash-memory maker warned that weak demand from mobile phone manufacturers and an excess in supply has led to lower prices and are weighing on its revenue and margins.
The news sent shares of the Milpitas, CA-based company reeling downward.
SanDisk makes NAND chips which are used as storage memory in the ballooning smartphone and tablet market. But not all of SanDisk customers have enjoyed the sudden boom. The company has recently seen demand wane as some of its key clientele has cut back on orders.
"Anybody who is not a Samsung or an Apple is burning through some (mobile) handset inventory," RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman told Reuters. "Until we get the PC market back buying, we'll see an oversupply situation."
SanDisk's plight is not unique. Just last month Micron Technology Inc. revealed it too was faced with doggedly lower prices for memory chips and posted a wider loss. Japan's largest chip maker Toshiba, also reported a drop in quarterly sales.
In January, SanDisk communicated its concerns about sluggish demand tempering sales in the first half of 2012, and forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the first quarter.
The company will report results later this month and is now expecting first quarter revenue of about $1.2 billion, lower than initial estimates of between the $1.30 billion – $1.35 billion it had anticipated in January. Thomas Reuters reports analysts were expecting $1.34 billion.
Freedman added in his note to Reuters, "SanDiskis exposed broadly to most mobile handset markers, and they even ship to Samsung, but that is not nearly enough to offset the shortages coming out of most mobile markets."
By 2:30 p.m. EDT, shares of SNDK sank more than 10% and were changing hands at $44.67.
Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO): Also active Wednesday was Internet search giant Yahoo.
Shares of the largest U.S. web portal announced it is eliminating about 2,000 jobs, or some 14% of its workforce. The move is the latest by new CEO Scott Thompson, who is moving at full speed ahead in his turnaround efforts to cut costs and increase Yahoo's presence.
The job cuts are expected to save the struggling Sunnyvale, CA company approximately $375 million annually, according to a statement from Yahoo.
Thompson took the helm in January and is in the midst of reorganizing operations in attempts to increase profits and revive sales. Yahoo has failed to keep up with likes of other Internet heavy-weights such as Facebook and Google. But, Thompson may just be the shot in the arm Yahoo needs to regain its once storied charisma and heft.
"Scott's going to radically transform this company," Benjamin Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Securities US Inc. in New York, told Bloomberg News. He added that Thompson is likely to implement more targeted cuts and be more selective in hiring.
Yahoo's revenue, excluding sales passed to partner sites, fell to $1.17 billion in the fourth quarter. Income from operations in the current period will be $105 million to $155 million, the company said. That is short of the $184.2 million that analysts had projected, according to Bloomberg.
The company is set to announce first-quarter results on April 17. In afternoon trading, shares of YHOO were lower by nearly 1% at $15.05.
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM): Meanwhile, shares of tech behemoth IBM were also actively trading. The company commanded a new high on Tuesday amid news that it has signed a deal with the team that is engaging in building the world's largest radio telescope.
IBM, through the five-year, $43.9 million (32.9 million euros) deal, will partner with Astron, a Netherlands-based astronomy organization, to build a computer system for the largest radio telescope.
Following the announcement, JPMorgan Chase reiterated its "Overweight" rating on the stock, hiked its price target to $225 (a 7% upside from its current price) and also raised earnings expectations due to increased projected software and service demand from its steady and loyal clients.
Shares of IBM gave back about 1.81% Wednesday, sliding with the overall market.
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