During a Citi conference talk (transcript), KLA (KLAC +5.5%) CFO Bren Higgins said he was "encouraged by some things" he has seen in 2H, such as strong investments in the next-gen 20nm manufacturing process (TSMC and Samsung are both moving aggressively), "pretty solid" demand for 28nm gear, improving demand in the reticle inspection market (a weak spot as of late) and "increasing momentum" for 3D NAND flash production (Samsung is an early adopter).
Altogether, Higgins thinks KLA's 2H revenue can total $1.5B or more. Analysts currently expect 2H revenue of $1.42B.
Higgins also asserted KLA's dominant position in the process control portion of the chip equipment market (~58% share) will allow it to gain equipment share during the coming up cycle, given much of the growth will be driven by mobile chips made by foundries and logic IC firms (historically the biggest buyers of process control hardware).
Applied Materials (AMAT +3.3%) CFO Bob Halliday was nearly as upbeat during his Citi talk (transcript), asserting his company benefits from both 3D NAND investments and the adoption of 3D (FinFET) transistors by the likes of Intel and TSMC. Long-term, the use of more advanced materials in FinFET production is viewed as a growth driver.
Halliday also mentioned AMAT is open to making new acquisitions, and (in spite of improving conditions) will be "very, very careful" in terms of how it invests in solar due to industry overcapacity.