Can You Bet on a Quarter-Crushing Performance From AMD?

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Semiconductor giant Intel (NAS: INTC) just blew past analyst targets only to have its share price softly crushed the next day. Will Advanced Micro Devices (NYS: AMD) fare any better when it posts fresh first-quarter results on Thursday night?

The word on the Street
The average analyst expects AMD to post $0.09 of adjusted earnings per share on revenue of $1.6 billion. Both numbers are very close to the year-ago period's -- slightly up in the case of earnings and down on the revenue line. For what it's worth, management's own revenue guidance points to sales of $1.56 billion, plus or minus 3%. Analysts are thinking slightly bigger.

When thinking about these figures, it's worth remembering that the first quarter contained 13 weeks this year but 14 weeks in 2011.


In other words, AMD had 7% less time on its hands this year, throwing year-over-year comparisons off a little bit. Intel experienced exactly the same calendar-based effect, so it's still totally fair to discuss one company in the light of the other.

What Fools should look for
This spring, AMD executives have talked up a storm about their flexible and powerful Accelerated Processing Units, or APUs, for mobile systems like notebooks and tablets. I'm sure that notebook sales are doing just fine, particularly since hard-drive producer Seagate Technology (NAS: STX) just told us that notebooks are getting all the drives they need nowadays. But I'm very curious to hear more about AMD's progress (or lack thereof) in the tablet space -- a market that not even Intel has cracked yet.

The server segment should also benefit from the pending acquisition of microserver builder SeaMicro. That deal is much too fresh to make a difference to this quarter or the next, but a deeper discussion of that deal's long-term importance would be very welcome. I'm looking at curious analysts for help with that during the earnings call.

AMD looks strong coming into this report, with several exciting catalysts in the air. But then, investors already figured this out and sent share prices up by a mind-boggling 64% in the past six months. The company doesn't have much room for error here, and even a pretty good quarter could send the chart squiggling southward.

This earnings season is only getting started, and we've already seen some market-moving reports. Here's a short list of five key reports that will set the market tone for the next three months.

At the time this article was published

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