By Emily Bary
Investors concerned about the big swoon for tech stocks at the end of last year received welcome news Wednesday afternoon.
Three large semiconductor companies announced earnings beats after the market closed Wednesday, a welcome respite from the barrage of poor forecasts and plunging stock prices for chip companies in the last round of quarterly results. Texas Instruments Inc. /quotes/zigman/7971332/composite TXN +1.24% , which was the canary in the coal mine for last quarter’s miserable earnings season, beat on earnings, as did Lam Research Corp. /quotes/zigman/74591/composite LRCX -0.23% , after installing a new CEO, and Xilinx Inc. /quotes/zigman/80149/composite XLNX +2.02% . Xilinx shares rose more than 8% in after-hours trading, Lam’s gains topped 4% and Texas Instruments’ stock was last up 1.5%.
Those earnings beats helped other chip companies in late trading, especially Lam’s major competitors in supplying the equipment used to make semiconductors, Applied Materials Inc. /quotes/zigman/19895/composite AMAT +0.09% and KLA-Tencor Corp. /quotes/zigman/74396/composite KLAC +0.07% , which were both up more than 3% in after-hours action. Chip makers Nvidia Corp. /quotes/zigman/80597/composite NVDA +1.17% , Analog Devices Inc. /quotes/zigman/9417396/composite ADI +0.44% and Maxim Integrated Products Inc. /quotes/zigman/75170/composite MXIM +0.88% were up more than 1% in late trading. Earlier Wednesday, ASML Holding NV /quotes/zigman/12984812/composite ASML -0.11% topped revenue and earnings estimates and closed with a 1.6% gain, though Susquehanna analyst Mehdi Hosseini said that the earnings beat was driven by a change in the company’s tax rate.
In other earnings action Wednesday afternoon:
• Citrix Systems Inc. /quotes/zigman/55934/composite CTXS +1.03% shares fell more than 6% in the extended session after the company forecast a weaker-than-expected start to the new year.
• Raymond James Financial Inc. /quotes/zigman/239604/composite RJF +1.08% earnings doubled from a year ago thanks to a lower tax bill.
Synchrony Financial /quotes/zigman/30512340/composite SYF -0.27% posted stronger-than-expected financial results Wednesday morning, and announced several updates about its relationship with Walmart Stores Inc. /quotes/zigman/245476/composite WMT +0.68% , which Jefferies analyst John Hecht said “represents the lifts of major overhangs in the stock.” For one, Synchrony extended its credit-card deal with Walmart’s Sam’s Club and said that Walmart was dismissing a lawsuit accusing the card company of being too risky with its underwriting. Synchrony also confirmed that it was selling its Walmart loan portfolio to Capital One Financial /quotes/zigman/142838/composite COF +0.66% (which announced earnings Tuesday).
Synchrony shares rose 10.7% Wednesday, the best single-day gain in the company’s history.
• Two Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/zigman/627449/realtime DJIA +0.55% components saw their shares zoom higher after earnings Wednesday. United Technologies Corp. /quotes/zigman/244482/composite UTX +2.27% easily beat earnings and revenue expectations, and Chief Executive Greg Hayes expects the company’s segment profit to grow faster than sales for the year ahead, as the company prepares to split itself into three businesses. Procter & Gamble Co. /quotes/zigman/238894/composite PG -2.69% also reported better-than-expected results in its fiscal second-quarter report, though Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan will be looking for more information about why the company didn’t lift its full-year earnings forecast despite beating estimates in the first half of the fiscal year.
• Kimberly-Clark Corp. /quotes/zigman/231291/composite KMB -3.55% announced a new strategic plan ahead of its 150-year anniversary in 2022, but investors focused on the company’s earnings and revenue misses.
• Comcast Corp. /quotes/zigman/89307/composite CMCSA -0.02% said it lost 29,000 net video customers in the fourth quarter, though the telecommunications stock jumped 5.5% Wednesday after the company posted revenue and earnings beats. MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett pointed out that even though the number of video subscribers is falling, Comcast exceeded expectations on the metric, and investors seem to have shifted their focus to the company’s broadband business.