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Electro Scientific hurdles 1Q forecasts

Electro Scientific Industries easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter Monday, earning $23.3 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales of $129 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 66 cents a share in the quarter.

Electro Scientific (Nasdaq: ESIO) shares closed up 5/16 to 34 13/16 ahead of the earnings report.

In the year-ago quarter, Electro Scientific earned $4.7 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $58.9 million.

"This record performance demonstrates the broad based strength we are seeing in our business," said CEO Donald VanLuvanee in a prepared release. ``The continued growth in sales of our electronic component systems products is evidence of success in penetrating the in-house, captive market segment."

Electro Scientific makes equipment used to build wireless communications and computer parts.

Last quarter, it pocketed $17.2 million, or 61 cents a share, on sales of $109 million.

The stock moved as high as 69 1/8 in March after falling to a 52-week low of 22 1/2 in October.

Nine of the 10 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn $2.76 a share in the fiscal year.