As the third earnings season of 2010 starts turning its heavy gears, there's an early sign of life for the entire technology sector. Novellus
Sales bounced back from last year's gloomy lows with a 169% year-over-year improvement to $321 million. Order bookings landed at $385 million, producing a book-to-bill ratio of 1.2. That means more revenue in coming quarters, and is a data point of utmost importance to a manufacturing specialist like Novellus.
CEO Richard Hill predicted that we're at the start of a "multi-year recovery in the semiconductor equipment industry," thanks to global trends such as Chinese consumer strength and a worldwide "gentrification" of communications equipment. Networking specialists Cisco Systems
"We watch companies like Intel
Indeed, Intel will confirm or undermine that world view when it reports earnings tonight, and I think it'll be the former, more optimistic option. Aside from buoyant consumer sentiment and rah-rah quotes like what we're getting out of Novellus, I'd like to point out that Intel's spokespeople took proactive steps to make sure I'm covering this earnings announcement. "Intel has posted earnings results above Street expectations for the last year," they told me. That's not the kind of heads-up you're handing out to the press if you expect to miss the next mark.
Like its larger semiconductor equipment peers Applied Materials
Do you read a different message in Novellus' tea leaves? Please share your insights in the comments box below.