(Bloomberg) -- Applied Materials Inc. gave a sales forecast for the current quarter that topped analysts’ estimates, suggesting a slump in orders for chipmaking equipment is ending.
The company is the largest maker of machinery used in the manufacture of semiconductors, which are among the most important parts of the electronics supply chain. Customers of the Santa Clara, California-based company include Samsung Electronics Co., Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., giving it a reach that makes its results and forecasts an important early indicator of business confidence. Intel and other chipmakers order equipment months in advance of starting new factories and production lines.
Fiscal first-quarter sales will be about $4.1 billion, Applied Materials said Thursday in a statement. That compares with analysts’ average estimate of $3.71 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Adjusted earnings per share will be 87 cents to 95 cents, the company said. Analysts projected 75 cents a share.The results “reflect a healthy uptick in demand for semiconductor equipment, combined with strong execution across the company,” Chief Executive Officer Gary Dickerson said in the statement.Chip-equipment makers often experience wild earnings swings. Machines cost tens of millions of dollars each. Delaying factory build outs is one of the fastest ways a chipmaker can preserve cash when they’re unsure of future demand.Net income was $698 million, or 75 cents a share in the period ended Oct. 27, compared with $757 million, or 77 cents a share, a year earlier.Revenue was little changed at $3.75 billion. Analysts were looking for $3.68 billion.
Shares rose about 4% in extended trading after the announcement. The stock closed at $56.96 in New York and has increased 74% this year.
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