Lam Research

(LRCX) - Get Report

said third-quarter earnings rose sharply from a year ago, buoyed by higher sales of semiconductor equipment. The results were ahead of expectations but got shrugged off by investors who took a beating in regular trading Wednesday.

Lam earned $59.5 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $19.2 million, or 13 cents a share, last year. Sales rose 51% from a year ago to $349.3 million. On an ongoing basis, the company earned 44 cents a share in the latest quarter. Analysts were expecting ongoing earnings of 43 cents a share and revenue of $350.2 million.

Lam earned $83.6 million, or 59 cents a share, on revenue of $379.8 million in the second quarter, which ended Dec. 31. Relative to that quarter, new orders fell 19% in the third quarter to $315 million. Lam posted ongoing gross margin of 50.0% in the third quarter compared with 52.4% in the second.

"The gross margin achieved for the March 2005 quarter was a result of lower installation and warranty expenses and improved field resource utilization," Lam said, adding that ongoing operating expenses were roughly unchanged at $89.7 million.

The stock fell 6% to $26.09 in regular trading and was down another 1% in the late session to $25.85.