Hitting a high Note: 'phablets', chips to drive Samsung Q4 profit
That run of five straight record quarters may end in January-March on weak seasonal demand, though a strong pipeline of smartphones - the South Korean group's biggest earner – and improving chip prices have eased concerns that earnings growth could slow this year, powering Samsung shares to record levels.
"Guidance is unlikely to disappoint given new product launches and a further upturn in cyclical parts of the business," said Morgan Stanley analyst Shawn Kim. "Smartphone momentum has not decelerated, despite Apple's new iPhone, and the business continues to be driven by its flagship products.
"This time, it's the Galaxy Note II ... with the upside in unit shipments mainly from the U.S. We expect strong momentum to continue in the first quarter."
While Apple rolled out just a single new smartphone, the iPhone 5, last year globally, Samsung bombarded the market with 37 variants tweaked for regional and consumer tastes, from high-end smartphones to cheaper low-end models. By comparison, Taiwan's HTC Corp released 18 models, Nokia 9 and LG Electronics 24.
Samsung, valued at close to $230 billion, gives its October-December earnings guidance on Tuesday before the market opens. The full earnings release is expected by Jan. 25.
A HIGH NOTE
Shipments of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III,
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