Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) didn't surprise a soul late yesterday with its dreadful business outlook, sprinkled on top of mediocre first-quarter results.

The semiconductor equipment maker warned the market at the end of January that its orders for the quarter would be far lower than anticipated.

Lower indeed, coming in 35% below fourth-quarter levels to $1.02 billion. Orders can be a good way to track and predict future revenue for a company like Applied Materials. For the second quarter, it expects orders to increase sequentially, but it still doesn't see a business upswing anytime soon.

Revenues reached $1.05 billion, ahead of last year's $1 billion. The company lost $66 million, or $0.04 a share, counting a $99 million restructuring charge. In the previous first quarter, it lost $45 million, or $0.03 a share. Excluding the charge, it made $6 million and broke even on a per-share basis.

Looking ahead, Applied Materials sees more of the same. Weak business spending and an uncertain political and economic environment will continue to inflict pain. It predicts Q2 sales will rise slightly, and hopes to earn between $0.01 and $0.02 a share. The company also said it can't rule out further cost cutting if business conditions fail to improve.

For shareholders, who've seen shares drop from a 52-week high of $27.95 to the current $12 level, things don't look to be getting brighter anytime soon.