SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 Applied Materials Inc
forecast 2012 results below Wall Street targets, but
plans cost reductions to offset a persistent downturn in solar
and display markets.
Its shares slid 2.8 percent to closed at $12.46.
The world's largest manufacturer of chip-making gear on
Wednesday expects revenue of $9.1 billion to $9.5 billion in
fiscal 2012, lagging the almost $9.6 billion that analysts
expect on average.
It predicted earnings of 85 cents to 95 cents after
excluding one-time items, below the 96 cents Wall Street
expects, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Applied Materials' semiconductor clients curtailed spending
on capital equipment as they struggled to climb out of a
years-long market slump. But rapid growth in mobile consumer
electronics helped trigger the beginnings of a rebound.
On Wednesday, executives at the company's annual investor
day forecast more than $30 billion of spending on wafer
fabrication gear in 2013.
But sales to solar cell makers and display technology makers
remain hurt by oversupply and weak pricing. Subsidy cuts in
Europe earlier this year triggered a global glut of solar panels
and drove down prices sharply.
"As a result of the sharp capacity-driven downturn in our
solar and display equipment markets, these businesses are
focused on reducing costs to improve profitability," chief
financial officer George Davis said in a statement on Wednesday.