Novellus Systems ( NVLS) topped analyst targets for its top and bottom lines late Wednesday but offered a weak outlook for the first quarter. For the final quarter of the year, Novellus earned $42.6 million, or 34 cents share, doubling the $23 million, or 17 cents a share, it posted a year earlier. Excluding certain items, Novellus earned $79 million, or 63 cents a share, jumping from $26.6 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. That handily beat the 55-cents-a-share estimate from a Thomson First Call survey of analysts. Items for the fourth quarter included a $1.9 million pretax reversal of a previously recorded restructuring accrual, a tax charge of $46.1 million related to the implementation of a new global business structure and a $8.5 million tax benefit, Novellus said. Quarterly sales hit $438.5 million, rising from $332.2 million in the same period last year and beating the average analyst target of $436.4 million. For the first quarter, Novellus forecast EPS of 41 cents to 44 cents, short of the 50 cents a share that analysts expected. The company's revenue projection also failed to meet Wall Street's outlook. Novellus estimates $395 million to $405 million in sales for the current quarter, while the consensus is for $420.1 million. Shares of Novellus were recently up 19 cents in after-hours trading to $30.80.