By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Top chip gear-maker Applied Materials forecast current-quarter revenues below expectations as it struggles with a slowdown in spending on chip manufacturing equipment and troubles at its solar and display groups.
But the company said it expects business conditions to improve entering 2013, "with orders projected to increase after bottoming in the fourth quarter," and its shares rose more than 2 percent in after hours trade.
Chipmakers worried about the global economy and wrestling with declining PC sales have been spending less on new manufacturing equipment sold by Applied Materials.
Applied Materials posted fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $1.65 billion, down from $2.18 billion in the year-ago period.
It said its expects revenue in the current quarter to be flat to down 15 percent from the fourth quarter. The midpoint of that range is about $1.526 billion.
Analysts had expected fourth-quarter revenue of $1.576 billion and fiscal first-quarter 2013 revenue of $1.750 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Applied Materials said it had a net loss for the quarter ended in October of $515 million, or 42 cents a share, versus net income of $456 million, or 34 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.
The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 6 cents, compared to 3 cents expected by analysts.
Shares of Applied Materials rose 2.57 percent in extended trade after closing down 0.58 percent at $10.30.
(Reporting By Noel Randewich; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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