Novellus Gives Chips A Boost

A bullish outlook from Novellus boosted chip stocks on Friday.

Novellus jumped 6% after the chip equipment maker said it expects second-quarter earnings of 25-27 cents a share, well above 21-cent estimates. The company also raised revenue and bookings guidance, and said business is improving steadily.

The news sent the chip sector to a 1.5% gain in otherwise quiet pre-holiday trading.

Traders will get another gauge of the chip sector’s health when Intel holds its mid-quarter update next Thursday.

The broader market was mixed Friday, as traders balanced falling consumer sentiment and terrorism fears against strong Midwest manufacturing and personal income and spending reports.

The Nasdaq rose 2 to 1986, the S&P 500 slipped fractionally to 1120, and the Dow lost 16 to 10,188. Volume declined to 1.17 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.21 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-13 on the NYSE, and 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 54% on the NYSE, and 57% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 65-15 on the NYSE, and 56-22 on the Nasdaq.

Ditech Communications soared 26% after beating estimates.

Blue Coat plunged 28% on a warning, and 8X8 lost 6% on its results.

Safeguard gained 5% after selling its interest in CompuCom , which lost 8%.

ON Semiconductor gained 6% on positive analyst comments.

Manugistics fell 11% on a downgrade.

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