Mobile Demand Drives Applied Materials 1Q Beat, Upbeat View

By Features FOXBusiness

Applied Materials (AMAT) weighed in on Thursday with fiscal-first quarter results that surpassed Wall Street's expectations as the semiconductor equipment maker capitalized on rising demand for mobile chips.

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The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also revealed stronger-than-expected guidance for the current quarter, sending its shares jumping in extended trading.

Applied Materials said it earned $117 million, or 9 cents a share, last quarter, compared with $506 million, or 38 cents a share, the year before. Excluding one-time items, it earned 18 cents a share, topping forecasts from analysts for 12 cents.

Net sales slumped 22.8% to $2.19 billion, but still surpassed the Street’s view of $1.97 billion.

"Global demand for mobile devices is driving a third consecutive year of strong capital investment by semiconductor customers," CEO Mike Splinter said in a statement.

Applied Materials said its silicon systems group generated a 53% leap in orders to $1.42 billion. Net sales climbed 26% to $1.34 billion.

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On the other hand, orders in its applied global services division slipped 8% to $517 million, translating to a 15% decline in sales to $534 million. The company blamed lower wafer starts and lower thin film solar volumes.

Looking ahead, Applied Materials projected a 5% to 15% sequential increase in second-quarter sales and non-GAAP EPS of 20 cents to 28 cents. Analysts had been calling for EPS of just 15 cents.

“We see solid order momentum and an improved outlook overall for our second quarter,” Splinter said.

Shares of Applied Materials rallied 5.75% to $13.98 in late trading, leaving them on pace to add to their 2012 rally of more than 20%.

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