Lam Research (LRCX) handily beat analysts' first-quarter earnings estimates, but the company's top line missed the consensus and shrank from a year earlier.

The maker of semiconductor-processing equipment said late Wednesday that earnings fell to $49.5 million or 35 cents a share, from $89.8 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier.

However, the Street was expecting worse: a Thomson First Call analyst survey had projected Lam would earn only 30 cents a share in the quarter.

Revenue also plunged in the quarter to $320.9 million from $419.5 million, while gross margin slipped to 48.6% from 51.2%.

Investors, however, seemed to focus on the EPS beat -- following the announcement, shares of Lam rose 75 cents, or 2.5%, to $30.95 on Instinet.

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