Previewing Applied Materials Earnings; They Didn’t Get The Down Market Memo (AMAT, KLAC, NVLS, LRCX, ASML)

August 10, 2007 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) reports on Tuesday, August 14.  This will be interesting for chip equipment stocks as this is the largest chip equipment stock out there, but the main reason this will be even more interesting than normally is thatthis has held up incredibly well in what has become quite a crummy stock market.  As of today, First Call estimates are $0.32 EPS and $2.53 Billion in revenues.  Next quarter is also its fiscal year-end and analysts expect it to post $0.30 EPS on revenues of $2.46 Billion. 

Analysts are mixed on the stock, but average targets from analysts are between $24.00 and $25.00. The chart has been quite hard to not notice.  Bets have been that despite a weak cap-ex market that it will change or at least not deteriorate.  The stock so far hasn’t gotten the down market memo, because it has been in an up-trend and its shares are just down about 3% from recent highs of $23.00.  In fact, that recent $23.00 high is within 10% of a 5-year high.  We are not going to comment on option trader expectations today because of the volatile market and time value compression with options expiration being next Friday.

Interestingly enough, one of the things that has been helping Applied out is its new and upcoming solar operations.  After a couple of recent solar and silicon related purchases and with the extra capacity that Applied has in its capacity arsenal, this solar operation is becoming a business that has the potential of becoming a dominant player in the coming years.  It is even feasible that this could become its own entity to unlock shareholder value down the road, although that is far too soon to predict or target.

Outside of almost everyone in the chip equipment sub-sector, the main US chip equipment and cap-ex names to watch for secondary movement are KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC), Novellus (NASDAQ:NVLS), LAM Research (NASDAQ:LRCX), and ASML Holdings NV (NASDAQ:ASML) in Europe.

Jon C. Ogg
August 10, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.