Image source: Veeco.

Shares of Veeco Instruments (NASDAQ:VECO) jumped 3.5% in after-hours trading, reacting to a mixed fourth-quarter report.

The maker of manufacturing equipment for LED lights, hard drive components, and other high-tech components saw sales fall 31% year over year to $73.2 million. Non-GAAP net losses per share increased from $0.09 to $0.42.

Wall Street analysts were looking for a net loss of $0.33 per share on sales of $70 million, so Veeco beat the revenue target while missing on the bottom line.

The outlook for the first quarter of 2014 is anything but mixed, however. Veeco sees revenues coming in between $85 million and $95 million, while analysts currently expect $81 million. Fourth-quarter gross margins sat at 21% but should bounce back to roughly 34%.

Doing the math on Veeco's guidance, the midpoints of everything work out to a $15 million operating loss. This compares to a $34 million operating loss in the fourth quarter, and to a $19 million operating loss in the year-ago period.

"While 2013 was a challenging year, we remain positive about trends in LED lighting and our new growth opportunity in flexible OLED encapsulation for mobile phone," said Veeco CEO John Peeler in a prepared statement. For example, Veeco got an order for prototype next-generation OLED-making machines from Samsung after the fourth quarter's closing.

But it's not all wine and roses: "Fourth bookings remained weak at $85 million, down 7% sequentially. We haven't yet seen a recovery in business conditions," Peeler said.

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