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Veeco shares rise on outlook for improved business

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (AP) -- Shares of precision manufacturing equipment maker Veeco Instruments Inc. rose Monday after the company said business conditions were "extremely challenging" in the quarter that just ended, but looked set to improve in the current quarter.

In a statement, CEO John Peeler said that first-quarter bookings of $70 million were "the weakest we have seen since early 2009."

However, he said that some customers who make light-emitting diodes are operating at close to full capacity and have started making rush orders for the first time in two years. Peeler said the company expects "meaningfully higher bookings in the second quarter."

The company said that its cash balance grew to $588 million at the end of March, compared to $579 million three months earlier.

Shares rose $2.52, or 7.8 percent, to $34.75 in after-hours trading after the outlook was released. Earlier, shares finished the regular session down 27 cents at $32.23.