Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person? Because the answer may help in digesting

National Semiconductor's

(NSM)

earnings report after the bell today.

A glass-half-empty type probably would focus on the company's $63.7 million loss in the quarter and 39% drop in sales. That comes to a loss per share of 28 cents.

Last year at this time, the chipmaker reported an $83.2 million profit, or 34 cents per share. Sales fell from $462 million in the year-over period to $280.8 million this quarter. That's enough to make a person feel queasy.

The Debbie Downer probably ignored the fact that, despite the sliding numbers, the company actually managed to beat analysts' expectations. On average, the street was preparing for a loss of 38 cents per share and around $274 million in revenues.

Now, a glass half full-type probably paid more attention to CEO Brian Halla's words. He said the company was seeing some positive signs, with increasing orders from customers who are preparing to push out more smartphones.

"We are well positioned to enable greater energy efficiency in a wide range of products with our analog and power management circuits," Halla said.

The optimist would also have noticed that the company forecasts sales for the next quarter to come in between $285 million and $305 million. Even that was better than street expectations.

Still, investors sent shares into the red before the announcement, and kept them there afterwards. National Semi was changing hands in negative territory, tripling average volume while the shares finished down 24 cents, or 1.6%, by the close. After the bell, shares slipped another 10 cents to $14.37.

Ah, those investors. Such a bunch of downers.

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