Intel, AMAT Offer Mixed Views of Chip Market

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) had some mixed news for the chip sector late Tuesday.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at an analyst event that order and billing patterns are “better than expected” so far in the second quarter. Intel shares were up more than 3% in after-hours trading on the news.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) also gained on Intel’s outlook.

But Applied Materials painted more of a mixed picture. The chip equipment maker posted quarterly sales that were down 53% from the year-ago quarter, but still 10% better than Wall Street analysts expected. But the company’s declining new orders and backlog show that business remains tough. Even so, the company issued a sales outlook that is potentially better than expected. AMAT shares traded modestly lower on the news.

Also after the close, BMC (NYSE: BMC) shares fell 4% after the company missed sales estimates.

Tech stocks were weak ahead of the Intel and Applied Materials events, but solid state drive maker STEC (NASDAQ: STEC) was a standout, soaring 31% on much better than expected results and guidance, as the company continues to benefit from solid state drive adoption in corporate data centers.

Insight Enterprises (NASDAQ: NSIT) was another big gainer, up 17% on its results.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) bucked the downtrend, rising 3% on the company’s first bond offering.

Ciena (NASDAQ: CIEN) fell 7% on a JMP Securities downgrade on a tough sales environment for the telecom equipment company.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was another decliner, off 4%.

The Nasdaq lost 15 to 1715, the S&P 500 slipped 1 to 908, and the Dow rose 50 to 8469. Volume rose to 6.87 billion shares on the NYSE, and declined to 2.54 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 20-16 margin on the NYSE, and 17-10 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 71% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 13-56 on the NYSE, and 25-16 on the Nasdaq.

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