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Citigroup Downgrades Five Semiconductor Equipment Makers

Citigroup slashed the ratings on five semiconductor equipment makers, after discovering last week that the companies might have fewer orders in the second half of 2006.

Analyst Tim Arcuri moved Mattson Technology (MTSN) and Lam Research( RCX) to sell from hold. He also downgraded Advanced Energy Industries( AEIS), Applied Materials (AMAT), and Asyst Technologies (ASYT) to hold from buy.

After spending last week in Asia visiting contacts throughout the electronics supply chain, the analyst became less optimistic that big orders will materialize in the second half of 2006 to sustain meaningful order growth. He now sees orders dropping by about 20% in the second half vs. the first half of the year. Among other things, he is concerned that business has, in general, worsened over the past several weeks.

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