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Novellus jumps on 1Q earnings

Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS) shares picked up 6, or 11 percent, to 59 1/2 Tuesday after it easily hurdled analysts' estimates in its first quarter.

The chip-equipment maker reported net income of $57.5 million, or 45 cents per share. First Call's survey of 22 analysts predicted a profit of 39 cents per share for the quarter ended April 1.

First quarter revenue rose to $274.1 million, a 43 percent gain sequentially and 138 percent improvement year-over-year. Cash and short-term investments rose to $450.2 million from $385.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Sales outstanding fell to 78 days from 99 days in the previous quarter.

Revenue grew strongly in all geographic markets, said Richard Hill, chairman and CEO. "Record bookings, revenues, and net income are the result of accelerated capital spending by our customers for expanded capacity and advanced technology," he said.

Novellus is the second chip capital equipment vendor in less than a week to report strong earnings. Last week, KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC) reported better-than-expected profits. Industry leader Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) is scheduled to report quarterly results next month.

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