Bellwether rings doom
Chip gear-maker Applied Materials, which is seen as a bellwether for the rest of the chip industry forecast current-quarter revenues below expectations.
The company said it was struggling with a slowdown in spending on chip manufacturing equipment. Applied Materials posted fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $1.65 billion, down from $2.18 billion in the year-ago period. Some of its woes though are nothing to do with chips. The company lost money in its solar and display operations.
But the company said it expects business conditions to improve entering 2013, with orders projected to increase after bottoming in the fourth quarter. Chipmakers worried about the global economy and wrestling with declining PC sales have been spending less on new manufacturing equipment sold by Applied Materials.
The company said that revenue in the current quarter to be flat to down 15 percent from the fourth quarter. The midpoint of that range is about $1.526 billion. Analysts had expected fourth-quarter revenue of $1.576 billion and fiscal first-quarter 2013 revenue of $1.750 billion.