Credence Systems Rebounds After Early Slide

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Shares of

Credence Systems

(CMOS)

rebounded after falling in premarket trading and opening lower, a day after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations but projected slowing growth for the first quarter because of an "uncertain industry environment."

The semiconductor equipment company said troubles in the semiconductor industry may lead to orders being pushed out and "in view of this uncertainty we estimate revenue will be sequentially down in the first quarter of fiscal 2001."

Credence, which is based in Fremont, Calif., reported income for the fourth quarter of $52.5 million, or 96 cents a diluted share, excluding charges. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected the company to earn 95 cents a share for the quarter.

Sales for the quarter rose sharply to $220.2 million from $80.2 million in the year-ago period.

This morning,

ABN Amro

cut the company's 12-month price target to $45 from $60 and lowered its 2001 earnings estimate to $3 a share from $4.

Shares of Credence, which were down 14.5% in premarket

Island

trading, opened the regular session at $16.38, but recently rose 25 cents, or 1.4%, to $18.75 in

Nasdaq

trading.