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Tech stocks in May: 'one of the worst down months in almost two years'

The rest of 2012 is not looking good for the technology industry.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

Oof.

That's the sound that should escape from your lips if you look at the progress of tech stocks over last month.

It's "one of the worst down months in almost two years," John Shinal writes over at Dow Jones' Marketwatch, and "there were few places to hide."

He writes:

While the respective drops look small at first glance, when looked at proportionally -- and across all sectors -- it’s clear that 2012 earnings growth will be significantly weaker than expected two months ago.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the outlook is bleak on the rest of the year -- after all, Europe still can't get its act together (and guess which industry has plenty of exposure to the Continent? That's right, tech!) and the U.S. is feeling the pain.

Consider this chilling passage from a recent New York Times article:

A few weeks after Cisco’s [bleak] announcement, Dell’s chief financial officer said the environment in Europe and parts of Asia was “tougher than we had planned.” And a day later, Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive, Meg Whitman, said that her company would face “headwinds” from Europe at least through the end of the year.

Some companies facing this situation have taken measures to protect themselves, like withdrawing money from European accounts that would be vulnerable.

But, Mr. Sacconaghi said, “There is not a lot you can do when demand in a whole geography weakens.”

We've been covering each company's troubles individually here on ZDNet, but this just brings it home, doesn't it?

The one bright spot? Apple, of course, whose growth continues to defy larger market forces, for the most part. But for enterprise companies -- particularly those with problems of their own -- it's going to be a tough slog.

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