Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

rose as much as 2.3% in early trading, but gave back its gains and was down 0.1% in late morning. The chip equipment maker is due to report earnings after the close. The Street's estimate is 62 cents per share.

But

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

, in a note this morning, reportedly said the company could report earnings as low as 60 cents and expects management's outlook to be poor. In addition,

Wells Fargo Van Kasper

cut Applied Materials to sell from hold.

It also downgraded several other chip equipment stocks to sell:

KLA-Tencor

(KLAC) - Get Report

, which was up 4%;

Novellus

(NVLS)

, which was up 3.7% and

Assyst Technologies

(ASYT)

, which was up 0.8%.