Electronic Firms Show Downturn In Consumer Spending

Bob Pisani has the day off. This post is from CNBC producer Robert Hum:

Coming off the heels of the Dow’s best 4-day winning streak since 1932, stock futures point to a slightly lower open today as European markets are off about 1% today. With only a half-day of trading today, volume in U.S. equity markets is expected to be light following the Thanksgiving holiday.

All eyes will be on the retailers today, as stores hope that consumers will line up for Black Friday bargains despite the current economic gloom. The weaker economic conditions continue to bring down corporate Q4 and full-year forecasts.

Panasonic drastically slashed its full-year profit outlook, which was hurt by the economic crisis and a stronger yen. The company expects 2008 profits to come in at 30 billion yen, compared to 310 billion yen it had expected earlier. This is the second time in two months that the company has lowered its full-year guidance. Last month it had projected it would earn 560 billion yen on the year. Electronic companies like Panasonic and Sony have been hit hard by slowing consumer demand for electronics. Additionally, since a high percentage of their goods are exported out of Japan, the strengthening of the yen over the past few months has put pressure on their bottom line, as profits are repatriated from dollars to yen. In the past 3 months alone, the yen has strengthened 15% vs. the U.S. dollar.

STMicroelectronics lowered its Q4 revenue guidance to $2.2 billion-$2.35 billion, below expectations of $2.6 billion. Just last week, the company’s CEO reaffirmed the company’s revenue outlook, but today’s revised guidance now reflects growing weakness in December demand from the wireless, automotive and technology industries.

In other news:

Chesapeake Energy is down 15% pre-open following the company’s announcement that it may raise capital via a $2 billion stock offering.

Investor Carl Icahn boosted his Yahoo! stake by 6.8 million shares to 75.6 million shares. His additional shares, which were purchased at an average price of $9.88, bring his Yahoo! stake up to nearly 5.5%.

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