Today: Yahoo and Intel sate wary investors with first-quarter earnings reports that juiced their stock prices in after-hours trading. Also: Twitter and other tech stocks experience big bounce-backs.
The Lead: Yahoo, Intel gain after earnings
Silicon Valley's important earnings season kicked off on a positive note Tuesday, as Yahoo and Intel managed to barely beat expectations with quarterly reports that sent their stocks higher in late trading.
Yahoo reported its first year-over-year gain in display advertisement sales since 2011, after removing commissions, and Alibaba -- the Asian e-commerce giant in which Yahoo has a large investment -- experienced accelerated growth of 66 percent in revenues and 110 percent in profits. Overall, the Sunnyvale Internet company reported net income of $312 million, or 29 cents a share, on revenues of $1.14 billion; those numbers pale in comparison to Alibaba, which had net income of $1.36 billion on revenues of $3.06 billion in the previous quarter.
The first quarter of 2014 "was an early and important sign of growth in our core business," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in Tuesday's announcement. "And, with mobile pivotal to our future growth, we're delighted to now see more than 430 million monthly mobile users accessing Yahoo's new products."
Yahoo's results were slightly better than analysts' expectations, but the Alibaba growth was still top of the list for analysts parsing Tuesday's report.
"It's really Alibaba driving things," Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter told Reuters in discussing Yahoo's sudden stock surge. "Really, the story here is Alibaba and the somewhat unexpected re-acceleration" of its sales growth.
Intel's results also squeaked higher than analysts' projections, as the Santa Clara chipmaker reported profits of $1.9 billion, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $12.8 billion; analysts expected profits of 37 cents a share on revenues of $12.8 billion. Intel's projections for the current quarter sparked high hopes, as the company said it expects revenues of $13 billion with a gross margin of 63 percent, with that gross margin figure easily exceeding analyst expectations that lagged 60 percent.
Intel stock, which gained 0.8 percent to $26.77 in Tuesday's trading session, topped the company's 52-week high of $27.12 at times in late trading, and Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon credited Intel's forecast, telling Reuters, "The margin guidance is what's pushing the stock up."
Yahoo's after-hours gains were starker, as shares jumped as much as 9 percent, topping $37 at times after closing with a 2.3 percent gain at $34.21.
Silicon Valley's high-flying technology stocks have suffered on Wall Street of late, though Intel and other legacy companies have fared better than newer tech firms, which have entered bear market territory after big gains in 2013. The earnings reports that began arriving Tuesday are expected to either show that investors were right to question the valuations of those firms or possibly lead to big rebounds.
The earnings parade continues Wednesday, when Google and Sandisk expect to release their quarterly financial results, and Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices is scheduled for a Thursday earnings report.
SV150 market report: Twitter rebounds in a big way
Tech's rebound may have begun even before earnings reports were released Tuesday afternoon, especially for Twitter, which soared higher in the afternoon session.
Twitter had its biggest gains since the San Francisco social-networking company's debut day on Wall Street, skyrocketing 11.4 percent to $45.52, with almost all of that gain taking place in the second half of the day. The company on Tuesday morning announced that it had agreed to acquire Gnip, an analytics company that paid Twitter to license its full data stream, for an undisclosed price. Another company that licenses Twitter data, Topsy Labs, was acquired by Apple late last year, so the move may have been a defensive one to avoid another company snatching up Gnip, but it also could be a away for Twitter to get closer to advertisers seeking such data. "Twitter has wanted to build an ecosystem of partners who use data that originates with Twitter," Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser explained to Bloomberg News. "Facebook had been trying to do the same, but none of the companies that originated from that effort have been particularly durable, so maybe Twitter has some ideas about how to do it." Later Tuesday, Twitter announced that it had lured Google Maps honcho Daniel Graf to the company to be its vice president of product, a move that reiterates the company's focus on mobile products.
Google investors didn't seem to mind Graf's departure, as the Mountain View search giant's stock gained 0.6 percent to $548.70 Tuesday as Google Glass went on sale to the general public for the first time, an offer that could go longer than the single day that Google expected. Facebook moved 0.3 percent higher to $59.09 after Priceline's CEO said that his company sees better results with Google ads than efforts on social-media sites. Symantec moved 0.8 percent higher to $20.76 after Reuters reported that the Mountain View security software company could be in danger of being broken up or sold as activist investors and private equity prepare to attack. Apple dropped 0.7 percent to $517.96 while its San Jose patent fight with Samsung continued, with Samsung experts continuing to assert that software similarities are the fault of Google's Android operating system, not the electronics manufacturer. Enterprise software companies that had been taking a beating on Wall Street seemed to turn around Tuesday: Workday gained 6.6 percent to $77.81, Splunk moved 6.4 percent higher to $64.36, Salesforce increased 2.7 percent to $55.23, and Palo Alto Networks rose 3.7 percent to $68.36. VMware launched a new enterprise software offering that continually backs up information to the cloud, and shares rose 1.4 percent to $102.22.
Up: Twitter, Workday, Splunk, Palo Alto Networks, Pandora, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Yahoo, AMD, Gilead, Yelp, VMware, Adobe, Sandisk, Juniper, Intel, Symantec, SunPower, Nvidia, EA, Google
Down: Tesla, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, SolarCity, Applied Materials, Apple, eBay
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 5.08, or 0.37 percent, to 1,362.41
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 11.47, or 0.29 percent, to 4,034.16
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 89.32, or 0.55 percent, to 16,262.56
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 12.37, or 0.68 percent, to 1,842.98
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.