Western Digital signals revenue rise in second half, shares climb

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Western Digital signals revenue rise in second half, shares climb

Western Digital last week said it expected revenue to improve in the second half and would cut costs, after posting lower-than-expected quarterly results due to waning demand for its data storage devices used in smartphones.

The company's shares reversed course following the comments on a post-earnings call to trade 8 percent higher in extended trading. They fell as much as 5 percent earlier.

Chief executive Stephen Milligan said on the call that the company expected revenues to improve in the latter part of 2019 as cloud computing customers return to more normal buying patterns and demand from its other businesses improve.

"WDC's expectation for the second half have raised investor hopes," said Stifel Nicolaus & Co analyst Kevin Cassidy.

Western Digital is targeting US$800 million in annualised reductions in non-GAAP cost and expenses, Milligan said on the post-earnings call, adding that the company was accelerating the closure of a plant.

"NAND flash price is close to the bottom in 1Q19 or 1H19. I expect cost reductions to outpace price decline in 2H19," Summit Insight Group analyst Kinngai Chan said.

Investors have been keenly watching Western Digital's results after South Korea's SK Hynix, the world's second-biggest memory chipmaker, flagged a tough first half due to US-China trade frictions and China's slowing economy.

Adding to the gloomy outlook, Intel on Thursday forecast current-quarter revenue and profit below analysts' estimates and missed fourth-quarter sales expectations due to a slowing China.

Western Digital said it expected third-quarter revenue between US$3.60 billion and US$3.80 billion and earnings of 40 cents to 60 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting US$3.88 billion and earnings of 97 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

For the second quarter, the company reported an adjusted earnings of US$1.45 per share.  Revenue fell 21 percent to US$4.23 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.51 per share and revenue of US$4.26 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty. Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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