Tech Check

AMAT Delivers; Now Can We Relax?


Applied Materials delivered the goods when it comes to beating the Street, with the news building upon so much better-than-expected data this past earnings season.

Applied reported a 4-cent a share GAAP loss, but excluding 2 cents in stock based compensation, analysts will be using a 2-cent loss as the apples to apples comparison against the anticipated 8-cents a share loss consensus. That news came on $1.13 billion in revenue, substantially better than the $955 million consensus.

Of course, none of this news is all that good when you compare it to the third quarter of last year, when the company earned 12 cents a share on $1.85 billion, but against analyst expectations, Applied was able to perform admirably. And though it was good news that Applied was able to narrow that red ink, what might be more important is the top line beat since analysts and investors have been anxiously awaiting signs that sales are beginning to recover.

(And credit Credit Suisse which just yesterday raised full year estimates, though its $12.50 price target for Applied Materials still lags the company's share price today of about $13.50.)

The company also reported new orders during the quarter totaled $1.07 billion, though backlog fell to $2.95 billion from the $3.16 billion reported during the previous quarter.

This will all come down to guidance and whether the company embarks on yet another deep round of costs cuts, two topics that will come up on the conference call that begins at 430pEDT.

Keep your eyes on the wires for more because that guidance number will doubtless move these shares, and likely broader tech as well.

In other words, as far as tech investors being able to relax finally, the short answer is no, not yet.

Not until we get some guidance.

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