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Chipmaker STMicro sales top forecast, but sees weak Q4

Automakers’ demand helped European chipmaker STMicroelectronics (STMPA.PA) surpass third-quarter sales forecasts on Thursday, offsetting a decline in consumer electronics sales.

But because of lower demand from some industrial clients, especially in China, the company—whose clients include Tesla (TSLA.O) and Apple (AAPL.O)—forecasts a roughly 3% year-over-year decline in revenue in the fourth quarter.

During a conference call with investors, Chief Executive Jean-Marc Chery stated that customers “are assessing their end demand, they are assessing their inventory level, and this could also trigger some inventory correction both in Q4 and maybe early next year.”

Texas Instruments, a rival company, announced on Tuesday that it had to reduce part of its output due to deteriorating demand in its important industrial sector.

STMicro’s net revenues for the third quarter increased 2.5% year over year to $4.43 billion, above analysts’ average expectation of $4.38 billion in an LSEG survey.

After falling almost 3%, its shares were up 2.7% at 10:10 GMT. Although JPMorgan analysts praised the strong third-quarter performance, they expressed disappointment with the projection.

The company “continues to weather the cycle well, with automotive growing and microcontrollers holding relatively steady,” according to Citi analysts.

However, they noted that “bears may argue this is just the beginning of a crack in ST’s fundamentals” while referring to the guidelines. Sluggish demand for personal devices and trade disputes between the United States and China have not had as much of an impact on the semiconductor business as orders from the automobile sector have. Recent comments made by automakers regarding a decline in the market for electric vehicles have also raised concerns.

However, Chery did project that every quarter of the next year will show a year-over-year increase in the automotive STMicro market.

The company announced on Thursday that its fourth-quarter gross margin will be 46%, give or take 200 basis points, down from 47.5% in the same period last year.

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