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The Associated Press April 15, 2010, 10:06AM ET

Novellus hikes 1Q profit outlook on lower tax rate

Chip equipment maker Novellus Systems Inc. on Thursday raised its first-quarter profit outlook because of a lower tax rate.

The company now expects to earn 43 cents per share, 4 cents above the high end of the range it had forecast in March. Adjusted earnings excluding certain charges should top 47 cents per share -- 3 cents above the prior outlook.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting a profit of 40 cents per share, which excludes one-time items.

Novellus said its fiscal 2010 tax rate should range from 15 percent to 20 percent instead of the 25 percent to 30 percent it had expected, after analyzing a court opinion on its tax expenses related to foreign operations.

Novellus is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on April 21.

Shares of Novellus, based in San Jose, Calif., were down 12 cents to $26.80 in morning trading.

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