AMAT, K&S, Brooks report losses; tech stocks slip

Nov. 15, 2001 — Technology stocks fell this morning with news late yesterday of an earnings plunge from industry giant Applied Materials, Santa Clara, CA. The NASDAQ dropped 9.08 points at the opening, the Dow Jones was down 3.95 points.

Applied Materials’ quarterly profits were down 97%, according to an after-the-bell conference call held yesterday to discuss quarterly results. Applied reported a fourth-quarter loss of $82 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with income of $664 million, or 77 cents a share, during the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time charges, net income was $22 million, or 3 cents a share.

Applied shares fell to $38.35 on the Instinet electronic brokerage system before recovering a bit to trade at $38.50. It ended Wednesday’s session at $40.71, and opened today at $39.27.

James Morgan, chairman and CEO of Applied, told investors: “Worsening global economic conditions and uncertainties from recent events have caused both businesses and consumers to decrease near-term spending, triggering further capital spending reductions for wafer fabrication equipment. However, customers continue to make investments for new technology applications, including copper-based and nanometer generation devices and 300mm wafers … we firmly believe that the long-term outlook for the semiconductor industry remains strong.”

Kulicke & Soffa of Willow Grove, PA, also reported a fourth-quarter loss today, noting that it had a net loss, including unusual charges, of $24.3 million, or 50 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $30.2 million, or 54 cents a share. Sales plunged to $117.8 million from $229 million. According to a poll of 11 brokers conducted by Thomson Financial/First Call Corp., analysts had expected K&S to post a loss of 21 cents a share, with loss estimates ranging from 12 cents to 27 cents.

The company said it sees revenues in the current quarter ranging between $100 million to $110 million.

K&S, generally seen as an early indicator of change in the industry, recently reported that Siliconware Precision Industries Co. Ltd. had placed orders for 166 Model 8028-PPS ball bonders.

Brooks Automation, Chelmsford, MA, which recently announced it would merge with PRI Automation, Billerica, MA, to create the world’s largest automation company, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $33.1 million, or $1.76 a share, compared with net income of $5.9 million, or 31 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of last year. Revenue was $61.5 million compared with $103.1 million. Net loss excluding one-time charges was $8.2 million, or 43 cents a share. Analysts had expected a loss of 48 cents a share, excluding charges. Brooks said its loss could be 20 to 30 cents a share on revenue of $60 to $65 million for the first quarter of 2002.


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