was dropping 6.5% to $38.90 in Instinet action before the opening bell.

After the market closed Thursday, Novellus reiterated its expectations of earning 11 cents a share in the fourth quarter. The chip equipment maker also bumped up its shipment forecast to $165 million. But the company trimmed its expected fourth-quarter bookings from a previous estimate between $125 million and $150 million to a lowered range of $100 million to $125 million.

Novellus also projected for the first time a loss in the first quarter of 2002, without giving specifics.