Chipmakers had no place to hide when the market perceived that capital equipment spending had tightened, sharply hitting computer sales. Their shares got slammed. One that was pummeled: Novellus Systems (NVLS), a maker of equipment for producing semiconductors. Its stock took a dive, from 62 1/2 in early September to 26 in November, before inching up to 30 on Dec. 6. Analysts scaled back their earnings estimates after Novellus confirmed that Korea's Hyundai had delayed orders. "Orders for semi equipment could be flat for the next few months, given global uncertainties and slowing growth in semiconductor markets," warns Susan Crossley at First Security Van Kasper.
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