Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Business Impact

Great Expectations

Samsung meets them; eBay does not.

As go the annual rites, the stock market spent January and early February rewarding companies that had lived up to their promises and exacting punishment from those that had not. The big news: on February 9, Carly Fiorina was booted out of Hewlett-Packard for failing to deliver on the promise of the HP-Compaq merger. If you’d been watching HP’s stock, you wouldn’t have seen it coming: it slid a mere 1.9 percent from January 7 through February 4, presaging nothing. But that was just the point: the company’s board was tired of waiting for results. Its shake-up caused the largest one-day move in the stock in more than a year, a 6.9 percent gain.

The stocks of underperforming companies are more likely to fall than to rise, mind you. After coming up short in their fourth quarters, both Amazon.com and eBay suffered rampant selling. The online auctioneer lost nearly a third of its market capitalization over the four weeks ending February 4. Amazon was not far behind. Still, some companies began the year well. New it company Samsung Electronics led the charge, with perennial it company Apple Computer close behind. Sandwiched in between: video game maker Electronic Arts, which saw its quarterly revenue slip but still meet investor expectations in December, resulting in a stock price gain of 15.6 percent through early February. The company, whose stock has returned well over 1,000 percent in the last decade, might be inclined to quote Bonasera from The Godfather, who said, “I believe in America. America has made my fortune.” And it wouldn’t be inappropriate: on February 2, Electronic Arts announced that it was developing a video game of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece. Duff McDonald

The TR Large-Cap 100 and Small-Cap 50 indices are updated daily online: www.technologyreview/trindex

You could almost see this one coming. Shares of ExxonMobil were hitting all-time highs in early February as investors celebrated the oil giant’s fourth-quarter profit of $8.42 billion—the largest quarterly profit ever reported by a U.S. company. This was humbling for analysts, who had expected earnings per share of $1.07. Reported earnings of $1.30 were more than 20 percent higher than that consensus.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.