Today Broadcom (AVGO) cut its annual sales forecast, saying that the U.S.-China trade war will wipe out the rebound in orders that it had predicted for the second half of 2019. Revenue at the chipmaker for fiscal 2019 will be $22.5 billion instead of the $24.5 billion the company predicted just three months ago. That announcement overshadowed what was otherwise a solid report delivered after the close today for the quarter that ended on May 5. Earnings were $5.21 a share (after excluding one-time items), above the $5.15 a share expected by Wall Street analysts. Sales climbed 10% year over year.
“We currently see a broad-based slowdown in the demand environment, which we believe is driven by continued geopolitical uncertainties, as well as the effects of export restrictions on one of our largest customers,” CEO Hock Tan said in the statement. “As a result, our customers are actively reducing their inventory levels, and we are taking a conservative stance for the rest of the year.”
Broadcom sells into just about every part of the chip market and the company supplies components to both Apple and Samsung Electronics, so the company’s call on its second half is actually a big call on the chip sector in general.
And it’s an especially big call on the China market and the fight that the Trump administration has picked with China by putting restrictions on the flow of U.S. technology to Huawei Technologies. Huawei is one of Broadcom’s biggest customers and about half of Broadcom’s revenue in 2018 went through China in one way or another.
In after-hours trading shares of Broadcom fell 8.07%.
The chip sector, measured by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index, was up 21% for 2019 as of the close today. I would not be surprised if that index were to give back all of those gains over the next few months, assuming the U.S.-China trade war continues.