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Acer Falls After Saying First-Quarter Sales to Miss Forecast

Acer Falls After Saying First-Quarter Sales to Miss Forecast
A file photgraph shows the Acer Inc. Aspire G24 computer at the company's headquarters in Hsichih, Taiwan. The stock dropped 7 percent to NT$67.8 as of 9:03 a.m., set for the lowest close since March 17. Photographer: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg

Acer Inc., the world’s second-largest maker of personal computers, fell the most in two weeks in Taipei trading after the company lowered its forecast for first-quarter sales.

Acer slumped 6.9 percent to NT$67.8 as of 9:45 a.m. local time, the biggest intraday decline since March 15. The benchmark Taiex Index dropped 0.5 percent.

First-quarter revenue from personal computers may fall about 10 percent from the previous three months because of “relatively weaker” demand in Western Europe and the U.S., Acer said on March 25. The company said second-quarter sales are expected to be little changed from the current quarter, an outlook that Daiwa Capital Markets analyst Calvin Huang attributed to possible supply disruptions caused by the earthquake in Japan.

“We believe the disruption to supplies is the major reason behind its conservative view” for the second quarter, Huang wrote in a March 25 report. The Hong Kong-based analyst cut his recommendation for Acer to “sell” from “hold.”

Henry Wang, a spokesman at Taipei-based Acer, didn’t immediately return three calls to his office and mobile telephones, and an e-mail, seeking comment. In February, Wang said first-quarter shipments and sales would rise 3 percent from the previous three months.

Asustek Computer Inc. fell 5.7 percent, and Compal Electronics Inc. dropped 5.2 percent, as Huang said they are among electronic companies that may cut their forecasts because of possible component shortages.

“Acer could be just the first shock in the Taiwan notebook sector,” said Huang.

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