Intensifying coronavirus crisis casts pall over news for week of February 24

coronavirus over crowd of people
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis cast an even darker cloud over the electronics industry this past week, with the stock market reeling from shaken business confidence and more companies downgrading first-quarter guidance. (Pixabay)

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis cast an even darker cloud over the electronics industry this past week, with the stock market reeling from shaken business confidence and more companies admitting first-quarter fiscal results will not meet expectations due to slower sales generated by virus concerns.

Specifically, Microsoft warned late Wednesday it doesn’t expect to meet its revenue forecast for its More Personal Computer division due to the coronavirus impact on the supply chain in China. The company now does not expect to meet its original guidance of sales ranging from $10.75 to $11.15 billion. 

The bad news reverberated through the major stock indexes, where stock prices for Microsoft and other tech companies tumbled. Other companies, including Amphenol and Analog Devices, also downgraded their first quarter guidance.

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RELATED: Check out what you missed: news from week of February 17

Coronavirus is also now more likely to impact the smartphone market, according to a new report from market research firm IDC.

Back in November, IDC projected smartphone sales to rise 1.5% in 2020 after a lackluster 2019. But the firm now projects shipments will decline by 2.3%, with sales of high-end smartphones (costing $1,000 or more) slated to fall by 14.5%. Smartphone production in China could be affected by plant shutdowns, component shortages, and workers unable to get to jobs due to the virus.

The specter of a possible coronavirus outbreak in the United States now has the Center for Disease Control (CDC) worried. The CDC has issued a warning that should the disease spread, schools may need to shut down, and companies should strongly consider urging employees to work out of their homes. But the CDC is still cautious about getting the nation too worried: CDC Director Robert Redfield reportedly told Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that the risk of coronavirus spreading in the U.S. remains low.

In other news, Intel, which along with other electronics companies has enough to worry about dealing with possible fallout from coronavirus, got news from the U.S. Supreme Court it could not void a lawsuit alleging the chipmaker made high-risk investments in a retirement fund that resulted in beneficiaries losing money.

The passive components sector, which has been dealing with falling profits and high inventories, further consolidated with the news that Japan-based Kyocera, which has long owned part of U.S. component supplier AVX Corp., decided to purchase the remaining shares of the company and make it a wholly-owned subsidiary. This move comes several months after Taiwan-based Yageo Corp. merged with AVX’s rival Kemet.

All the bad news might tempt people to rent out an Airbnb property and let loose. Well, not so fast. The rental property company is now advertising on its site the availability of noise sensors to keep tabs on unruly guests. The sensors would alert hosts of sustained noise levels that would indicate unusual activity in its properties.

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