Novellus Systems Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Novellus Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVLS) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, February 2, 2012. Novellus Systems develops, manufactures, sells, and supports equipment used in the creation of chips and semiconductors.

Novellus Systems, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 47 cents per share, a decline of 54.4% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 1.3% versus last year to $3.06.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has beaten estimates the last four quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped forecasts by 4 cents, reporting profit of 72 cents per share against a mean estimate of net income of 68 cents per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a decline of 27.9% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $277.3 million.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about Novellus Systems with 10 of 14 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit fell 33% to $51.1 million (73 cents a share) from $76.3 million (82 cents a share) the year earlier, but exceeded analyst expectations. Revenue fell 16.5% to $306.7 million from $367.2 million.

Key Stats:

A year-over-year revenue decrease in the third quarter snapped a streak of three consecutive quarters of revenue increases. Revenue rose 9%in the second quarter, 49.6% in the first quarter and 57.4% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

The decrease in profit in the third quarter broke a streak of three consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. Net income rose 2.3% in the second quarter, more than twofold in the first quarter and more than twofold in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Mattson Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTSN), Amtech Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASYS), Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT), Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACLS), CVD Equipment Corporation (NASDAQ:CVV), Tegal Corporation (NASDAQ:TGAL), ASM Intl. N.V. (NASDAQ:ASMI), Varian Semiconductor (NASDAQ:VSEA), Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX), and FSI International, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSII).

Stock Price Performance: During November 29, 2011 to January 27, 2012, the stock price had risen $15.53 (48.3%) from $32.14 to $47.67. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between October 3, 2011 and October 13, 2011 when shares rose for nine-straight days, rising 21.7% (+$5.70) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between April 6, 2011 and April 14, 2011 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 7.1% (-$2.58) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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