Trouble Looms for Indian IT Outsourcers

It’s a rough morning for the Indian IT outsourcing sector, which has been hit hard by a highly negative report from Wachovia analyst Edward Caso.

Caso says the group is likely to take another leg down, forecasting that April conference call season will see most of the companies issue guidance below Street expectations. He writes that “demand remains lackluster and decision-making slow.” Customers budgets are down 10-20 percent this year, he contends, but with many operating on a month-to-month basis and focused solely on cutting costs. Caso writes that he is hearing pricing has come down close to 10 percent, and that existing contracts are being repriced. He also says the sector is seeing increasing competition for deals from Accenture (ACN) and IBM (IBM).

Caso cut his ratings today on Cognizant (CTSH), Wipro (WIT), Infosys (INFY) and Syntel (SYNT) to Underperform from Market Perform. He also reduced EPS estimates for all four companies. Caso said the stocks could see another 15-30 percent decline from Friday’s close.

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