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Today's Tech Winners and Losers

Shares of Semitool (SMTL) were among technology's losers Friday, sliding 21% after the maker of chip manufacturing tools posted weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings and warned that third-quarter results would be below forecasts.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company earned $3.6 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $63.8 million. The results included a charge of 1 cent a share related to a patent infringement case. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $63 million. A year earlier Semitool earned $2.5 million, or 9 cents a share, on revenue of $46.3 million. Gross margin in the recent period rose to 47.5%, below the company's targeted level of 50%. "The margin shortfall resulted primarily from ongoing investments we are making to expand the customer base for our Raider product line," the company said. "We believe this strategy is working, as we received orders from five first-time Raider customers during the quarter."

Looking ahead, Semitool sees third-quarter earnings of 5 cents to 7 cents a share, with revenue of $59 million to $62 million. The company expects gross margin to be between 47% and 48%. Analysts project earnings of 17 cents a share and revenue of $65.7 million. Shares were trading down $2.29 to $8.66.

Cogent Systems (COGT) slumped 10% after the maker of automated fingerprint identification systems posted first-quarter results that fell well below expectations. The company earned $6.7 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenue of $22.7 million. Excluding items, the company earned $7.6 million, or 8 cents a share. Analysts projected earnings of 10 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $27.2 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $10.1 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $35.8 million. Excluding items, year-earlier earnings were $11.3 million, or 12 cents a share. Shares were down $1.73 to $16.40.
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