Banc of America Keeps Buy Rating on Novellus

Analyst Mark FitzGerald sees a positive outlook for the chip equipment firm in the second half of 2001

Novellus Systems (NVLS ) posted Q4 earnings per share of $0.76 vs. $0.27 (pro forma) on a sharp revenue rise. Banc of America maintains its buy rating on shares of the wafer fabrication systems maker.

Analyst Mark FitzGerald says the company's results beat his $0.72 EPS and $415M revenue estimates. He notes Q4 EPS would be $0.69 and revenues $389.9M under the new accounting standard SAB 101. FitzGerald says Novellus has $432M in deferred revenues under the new rule which will artificially offset any business slowdown over the next several quarters. The analyst sees a positive outlook for the second half of 2001, with strong product positioning in the 300mm and Cu growth areas. He thinks investors should build positions in Novellus during periods of weakness. FitzGerald sees EPS of $2.36 in 2001, and has a $60 12-month price target.

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