ASML warns of slow first quarter after fourth quarter net profit beats

ASML's logo is seen on the day of the presentation of the 2011 fourth quarter and annual results in VeldhovenVELDHOVEN (Reuters) – ASML, the world's leading provider of tools for making computer chips, warned of a weak first quarter but said it sees a recovery in the following months as smartphone and tablet makers shift to the next generation of chips. The Dutch firm, which is seen as a barometer for the tech sector, reported better-than-expected net profit of 298 million euros ($ 396 million) on sales of 1.02 billion euros, largely thanks to a tax benefit. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast profit of 185 million euros on sales of 1.029 billion euros. …

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