Why Shares of Axcelis Technologies Inc. Surged Today

By Markets Fool.com

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

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What: Shares of Axcelis Technologies , a provider of solutions and equipment to the semiconductor industry, jumped as much as 14% Friday and were up about 7% around 3:30 p.m. after the company on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates.

So what: Expectations were extremely low going into earnings. Analysts were expecting $51.6 million in revenue and a loss of $0.03 per share, but the company surprised on all fronts. Axcelis posted revenue of $62.5 million, up 6.7% year-over-year, along with a very small net income that rounds down to a break-even quarter on a per-share basis.

Axcelis's business can be volatile, as evidenced by both a 62% jump in revenue and a 254% increase in system sales compared to the third quarter. For the full year, Axcelis reported an $11.2 million loss, an improvement over the $17.1 million loss during 2013.

Now what: Axcelis is expecting its momentum to continue into the first quarter. The company has guided for revenue between $65 million and $70 million, compared to $60.8 million during the first quarter of 2014. In addition to growth, the company expects to post a small operating profit, between $1 million and $3 million, which would translate into EPS of $0.02 on the high end. Operating profit during the first quarter of 2014 was just $326,000.

Axcelis's results have been extremely volatile over the past decade, posting losses in the majority of years, so this momentum may end up being short-lived. For now, though, the stock is enjoying the spoils of a solid quarter.

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The article Why Shares of Axcelis Technologies Inc. Surged Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Timothy Green has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.