Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of chip-making equipment builder Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS) look like a Stephen King horror novel today, plunging as much as 11% in intraday trading on very heavy volume.

So what: Novellus' second-quarter report, published last night, beat Wall Street's earnings estimates but offered a gloomy view of the coming quarter. The report also dragged down shares of fellow chip-tech providers such as LAM Research (Nasdaq: LRCX) and Mattson Technology (Nasdaq: MTSN) by more than 5% today, because management comments painted a picture of industrywide weakness.

Now what: The ebullient buildout of semiconductor manufacturing lines that started in 2010 appears to have ended as Novellus CEO Rick Hill reports "a cautious tone and a feeling of uncertainty" at each of his six largest customers. Though Hill also noted that largest buyer Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) keeps investing in infrastructure "like clockwork" and that he hoped that the processor giant would continue to outperform, even that bastion of strength joined the cautious Greek chorus.

Analyst firm DA Davidson sees a buying opportunity here as Novellus' long-term prospects remain strong, but hedge funds have been selling this stock by the bucketload recently. I'd largely agree with the bulls, though Novellus doesn't stand out as a top choice in the crowded chip-building gear sector.

Interested in more info on Novellus Systems? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has sold puts on Intel, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a diagonal call position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.