Five Economic Indicators VARs Should Watch
So, we’re in a recession. At least, that’s what the media keeps telling The VAR Guy. Still, some areas of the economy remain healthier than others. In order to move forward with your own business plans, take a look at these five anecdotal pieces of info.
1. PC Sales: They look good — but not great. Gartner on March 25 cut its worldwide sales forecast, starting that PC sales will grow about 10.9 percent this year. The research firm previously anticipated growth of about 11.6 percent this year. In 2007, shipments grew 13.4 percent to 271.2 million units, Gartner estimated in January, Reuters reported.
2. Consulting Engagements: Keep an eye on big firms to see how they’re performing. Accenture announces results on March 27. Shares in other giants, such as Computer Sciences Corp., are trading far below their 52-week highs.
3. Software Sales: Oracle is expected to deliver solid quarterly results after the market closes today (March 26). If Oracle falls short of analyst expectations, quite a few people will be shocked. Frankly, The VAR Guy is more interested in results from Red Hat (March 27), which should give us a feel for the shift to open-source business environments.
4. Software as a Service: We’ve already heard solid quarterly results from Salesforce.com in February. Now, giants like Microsoft are making SaaS moves and some SaaS companies may launch a price war. But as you hear more hype about cloud computing and SaaS, remember this: SaaS-oriented stocks are down about 30 percent in 1Q 2008.
5. Equipment Suppliers: Sometimes, you can analyze the health of a big company by checking in with their suppliers. Barron’s, for instance, is warning that a soft outlook for an electronics supplier to Cisco may hint that Cisco’s own business is turning soft.
In the channel, The VAR Guy has learned to never bet against Cisco. But on Wall Street, The VAR Guy has learned not to fall in love with specific company stocks.