Applied Materials sees sales drop to a seven-year low

Applied Materials (AMAT) saw sales drop to their lowest level in seven years and posted its second straight quarterly loss.

Sales dropped 53 percent to $1.02 billion in the company's second quarter, which ended April 26. It had a loss of $255.4 million, or 19 cents a share, down from a profit of $302.5 million, the company said in a press release today.

Chip equipment sales may have reached a new low in the quarter and could have reached a bottom, yet the company could see a further decline in sales of its solar-panel production equipment.

Because of volatile sales of chip-making equipment, Applied Materials added sales of solar-power production machinery. Solar customers may be holding back on purchases more than the chip makers, which could continue to hamper sales into the current quarter.

Intel (INTC) CEO Paul Otellini told analysts at a meeting in Santa Clara, California that business was "a little better than expected," during the current quarter.

Otellini's comments are giving Intel a boost in after-hours trading. Intel shares are up 3.5 percent to $15.73 as of 5:30 p.m. New York time. Applied Materials shares are falling 2.5 percent to $11.19.
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