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KLA-Tencor reports solid earnings

Chip equipment maker KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC) delivered the latest round of good news for the sector Thursday with fiscal first quarter earnings of 38 cents a share. The results beat First Call estimates by a nickel.

The news comes just a few days after Novellus (Nasdaq: NVLS) topped expectations for its September quarter. The news bodes well for the chip equipment sector. Meanwhile, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) said on its earnings call that it would increase capital spending -- good news for chip equipment maker such as Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT).

KLA-Tencor said earnings were $35.6 million, or 38 cents a share, up substantially from the profit of $10 million, or 11 cents a share, in the year ago period. Including the benefit of a restructuring charge reversal was $39.5 million, or 42 cents a share.

First quarter revenue was $273 million, a 33 percent from the $205 million a year ago, said KLA-Tencor.

"September new orders were stronger than expected and significantly exceeded the June level," the company said. "The backlog of unshipped orders rose significantly in spite of the increase in the shipment rate. Orders were particularly strong from Taiwan where foundries are increasing capacity."

KLA-Tencor added that it was seeing "unusual order strength" in Europe. Orders from Japan and the U.S. were a smaller proportion of the total compared to normal levels, the company said.