NEW YORK (AP) - A warning from a maker of parts for hard drives on Thursday boosted investor worries that demand for hard drives may have softened, driving down shares of the companies that make them.
Hutchinson Technology Inc., which makes components for hard drives, said Wednesday that lower customer demand over the past five weeks had weighed on its shipments in the April-June quarter. It also predicted revenue of $60 million for the current quarter, short of Wall Street expectations for $66.8 million, according to a FactSet poll.
Hutchinson's shortfall added to investor concerns that demand for hard drives from PC makers has declined.
PC shipments may fall 5 to 10 percent in the July-September quarter, said Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. He based his prediction on Hutchinson's news and his discussions with executives at two Japanese parts suppliers.
Hard drive makers posted gains earlier this year, as the market recovered from shortages stemming from the flooding of factories in Thailand last year. But they have struggled in recent months, hit by lower production at the major computer makers and competition from products like Apple Inc.'s iPad tablets, which don't use their hard drives.
Through late April, Western Digital shares had gained as much as 44 percent for the year. But they've lost a third of their value since then. In late Thursday afternoon trading, the stock dropped another $1.36, or 4.6 percent, to $28.44.
Meanwhile, Seagate shares nearly doubled in the first four months of this year, but have fallen more than 20 percent since. The stock slid $1.50 more, or 6.1 percent, to $23.03 Thursday.
Hutchinson shares fell 19 cents, or 11 percent, to $1.52.
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