NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of genetic data analysis instrument maker Affymetrix Inc. fell Thursday after as dive in revenue pushed the company to a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss. The stock shed 49 cents, or 11.5 percent, to reach $3.77 in midday trading. Shares have traded between $1.78 and $12.98 over the last 52 weeks. Late Wednesday, the company said it lost $25.2 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with profit of $46.3 million, or 58 cents per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue fell 54 percent to $78.6 million from $169.6 million, mainly on lower royalties. The year-ago period included the recognition of a $90 million payment. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 22 cents per share on revenue of $72.8 million. Though medical technology companies have been seeing lagging sales because of a capital spending slowdown, Affymetrix's product and service revenue rose. Still, the gross margin was lower. Looking ahead, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it expects second-quarter revenue between $75 million and $78 million. Analysts expect revenue of $76.6 million.
Wall Street maintained a cautious view on the company, with analysts citing the spending slowdown for many of Affymetrix's clients and increasing costs. "Given the company's prolonged underperformance, we continue to have very limited confidence that the company will be able to turn around its fortunes anytime soon," said Deutsche Bank-North America analyst Ross Muken, in a note to investors. He reaffirmed a "Sell" rating, citing cost overruns as a key factor and a lack of confidence in new products rebuilding the company's market share. The company, though, remains optimistic. "We're excited about a number of new product introductions that will take place in 2009. Additionally, we are optimistic about the potential impact of increased NIH funding and government stimulus dollars that have been allocated for life science research," said Chief Executive Kevin King, in a statement. Meanwhile, Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Peter Lawson maintained a "Market Weight" rating on signs the company could return to growth. "Signs of stabilization appeared in Affymetrix top line results, though we still remain cautious on the company's turnaround," he said, in a note to investors.