ON Semiconductor waters down forecasts

ON Semiconductor joined the rest of the semiconductor sector Thursday in warning that its first-quarter sales and earnings will miss analysts' estimates.

The maker of semiconductor components for the networking and wireless communications industries told Wall Street to expect a first-quarter loss of between 13 cents and 15 cents a share.

Company executives said first-quarter sales will fall 30 percent from the $490.7 million it recorded in the fourth quarter.

ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN) shares closed up 6 cents to $6.31 ahead of the warning before falling to $6 in after-hours trading.

"Overall demand for our products continues to be soft," said Chief Executive Officer Steve Hanson in a prepared release. "Customers continue to delay or cancel bookings in order to manage their inventories in line with their incoming business."

Last quarter ON Semiconductor topped reduced estimates when it posted a profit of $21.2 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $490.7 million.

Analysts were expecting the company to break even in the first quarter on sales of $470 million.

The stock fell to a low of $4 a share in December after peaking at $27.75 in June.

Four of the five analysts following the stock maintain a "buy" recommendation.