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TriQuint braces Street for lower sales, earnings

Just one month after confirming its guidance for the first quarter and fiscal 2001, TriQuint Semiconductor jumped on the profit-warning bandwagon Monday when it told analysts to expect lower sales and earnings in its first quarter.

TriQuint (Nasdaq: TQNT), which makes chips for the wireless telecommunications and data communications industries, told Wall Street to expect sales of $80 million in the first quarter and earnings of only 14 cents a share.

First Call consensus was expecting TriQuint to earn 23 cents a share on sales of $94 million in the quarter.

TriQuint shares closed up 25 cents to $19 before the warning, and then fell to $18.88 in after-hours trading.

Ahead of Monday's warning, Merrill Lynch analyst Shawn Foley cut the chipmaker's earnings and sales estimates. Foley also cut the stock's 12-month price target to $50 a share from $75 a share.

"We believe this is due to the company experiencing continued push-outs and cancellations from broadband customers such as Nortel and handset customers such as Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson," Foley wrote in a research note.

Merrill Lynch also lowered its estimate for TriQuint's earnings in 2002 from $1.20 a share to $1.02 a share, well below the current consensus estimate of $1.23 a share.

Last month, TriQuint easily topped analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $23.2 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $90.3 million.

Following the fourth-quarter earnings report, Chief Executive Officer Steven Sharp reiterated the company's guidance calling for sales of $94 million in the first quarter and $411 million in the fiscal year.

TriQuint shares moved up to a 52-week high of $66.63 in June before slumping to a low of $16.81 in February.

Twelve of the 15 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."