Wall Street Beat: IT forecasts slashed

With CIOs reporting budget revisions, market analysts slashing expectations for tech sector growth, and companies as diverse as Yahoo, Hynix, Texas Instruments and Sony cutting sales forecasts and jobs this week, there is no bottom clearly in sight for IT.

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With CIOs reporting budget revisions, market analysts slashing expectations for tech sector growth, and companies as diverse as Yahoo, Hynix, Texas Instruments and Sony cutting sales forecasts and jobs this week, there is no bottom clearly in sight for IT.

Along with a global slowdown, the US recession is having an effect on technology that is much more profound than what was expected several months ago.

"Our most recent industry checks point to 2009 IT budgets down 10 per cent to 20 per cent, marking a rapid deterioration from our proprietary survey of 200 CIOs in Sept. '08, which indicated weak 1 per cent growth," Citibank said in a report on IT buyers in financial services.

Buyers who currently have a grip on how their budgets are shaping up are typically in the financial services arena, Citibank noted in the report, issued on Thursday.

Buyers who are not in financial services "have unusually low visibility" into what they'll be able to spend in the first quarter, Citibank noted. "IT buyers we spoke with may defer spending until second half year 2009 to protect against further budget cuts," Citibank said.

With the first half of next year looking bleak, Forrester Research on Tuesday revised its 2009 US IT spending forecast down to 1.6 per cent annual growth, from its prior projection of 6.1 per cent growth.

"Our US tech market forecast now assumes that the ... decline in US real GDP (gross domestic product) in Q3 2008 will accelerate in Q4 2008 and the first half of 2009 before a weak recovery starts in the second half," said Forrester research vice president Andrew Bartels in the report.

With forecasts for a positive outcome for next year getting razor-thin, even bright spots like software are dimming.

Gartner forecasts that worldwide spending on enterprise software will reach $244 billion in 2009, down from its prediction of $253 billion made in September, before the collapse of the US investment banking industry.

Bracing for continued tough times, tech and consumer electronics companies around the world announced layoffs this week. Yahoo said Wednesday it is laying off about 1,500 employees, enacting a previously announced plan to cut 10 per cent of its staff.

NEXT: Sony cuts 8,000 jobs, electronics investment