Gartner Lowers Handset Forecast

The global economy slowdown is impacting the wireless sector. Gartner is cutting its growth forecast for the handset market in 2008 to 11 percent.

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Research firm Gartner said it cut its forecast for cellphone market growth in 2008 to 10-11 percent as a global economic slowdown started to crimp demand in the second quarter.

At end-May Gartner forecast 10-15 percent more phones would be sold this year.

"In the last month however, the economic environment started to negatively impact emerging markets as well as mature," Carolina Milanesi, head of mobile device research at Gartner, said on Monday.

Shares in Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) lost most of their earlier gains on the news and were 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent higher respectively by 0910 GMT.

"Signals for a weaker than expected second quarter have arrived from Sony Ericsson as well as some component manufacturers," Milanesi said.

The world's fifth largest phone maker, Sony Ericsson (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) warned on June 27 it would make no profit in the April-June quarter due to weaker demand for its more expensive phones, and said the market was challenging.

"Despite expecting a stronger second half, we feel that the weakness of the first half has pulled the overall year growth down to 10-11 percent," she said.

Earlier on Monday Salcomp (SAL1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world's top maker of cellphone chargers, warned its 2008 operating profit would fall from last year's level, citing expectations of weaker volumes during the second half of the year.

Shares in Salcomp were 13.9 percent down at 2.84 euros.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Paul Bolding and Quentin Bryar)