Updated from 1:34 a.m. EDT

ASML ( ASML), a European maker of semiconductor equipment, swung to a second-quarter loss of 104 million euros ($145.4 million) as sales fell to 277 million euros from 844 million euros a year earlier.

Analysts expected ASML to report a second-quarter loss of about 109 million euros.

ASML earned 192 million euros in the year-earlier second quarter.

"We closed the second quarter with weak but better-than-anticipated sales, and managed to generate cash in this very difficult market environment, similar to that of the first quarter of the year when our customers virtually froze their capital purchases," said Eric Meurice, CEO and president, in a statement Wednesday.

Net cash from operations was 71 million euros in the second quarter, and ASML ended the period with 1.09 billion euros in cash and cash equivalents. In the second quarter of 2008 net cash from operations was 130 million euros.

Gross margin in the second quarter was 12.5%, compared with 40% a year earlier.

Meurice said ASML booked a net 15 systems worth 394 million euros in the second quarter, "signaling a return to a more typical rate of technology transition investments," Meurice said.

The CEO added ASML expects minimum net sales of between 400 million euros and 500 million euros on average for the next quarters.

More specifically, ASML, the world's biggest maker of semiconductor lithography machines, said it expects net sales in the third quarter of about 450 million euros and gross margin of about 30%.

The news from ASML follows a report Tuesday from the world's largest semiconductor company, Intel ( INTC), in which the company beat second-quarter expectations and raised guidance for the current quarter.

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