Credence Systems, ( CMOS) a provider of test solutions for the semiconductor industry, said its first-quarter loss narrowed, helped by strong sales growth. The company lost $4 million, or 4 cents a share, in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a loss of $36 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for charges associated with amortization of intangibles and other restructuring charges and stock compensation, the company earned 2 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to post a loss of 1 cent a share. First-quarter revenue rose 27% from the year-ago period to $118 million. Analysts were estimating revenue of $115.4 million for the quarter. For the second quarter of fiscal 2006, the company expects earnings of 4 cents to 5 cents a share and revenue of $124 million to $126 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 5 cents a share on revenue of $124 million. Net orders for the first quarter of fiscal 2006 were $120 million, corresponding to a book to bill ratio of 1.01.