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Soundview Keeps 'Outperform' on Kulicke & Soffa

Soundview reiterated its outperform recommendation on Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC), saying fourth-quarter bookings are ahead of plan.

Analyst Mehdi Hosseini tells S&P MarketScope that the company's fourth-quarter bookings are ahead of plan as several integrated device manufacturers placed orders in July for its Maxum and NuTek products. With cost-cutting efforts on track, gross margins in wirebonder operations are expected to reach 55% to 60% in coming quarters, and he believes the company could post the first quarter of EPS in the second quarter (March) of fiscal year 2004, if not earlier, the analyst says.

Hosseini says the company's material and probe card businesses so far are in line with expectations. The analyst says the only concern is poor book value, which is accounted for in his valuation multiples. The analyst has a $12 price target on the stock. Hosseini sees a loss of 78 cents per share for fiscal year 2003 (September), and EPS of 27 cents in fiscal year 2004.

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