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Electro Scientific Industries Inc. either performed admirably in a tough environment during fiscal 1998, or had a disappointing year, depending upon who you talk to. However, despite the continued support of one veteran securities analyst and a bullish outlook from the company's executive suite, ESI's performance apparently wasn't good enough for most investors.
ESI's stock fell $2.675 to a $28.875 close on Tuesday after the company announced its fiscal year results. Revenue set a company record. But earnings per share for the year ended May 31 fell compared with 1997 EPS, a serious transgression in the eyes of most investors.
Robert Toomey, an analyst with Piper Jaffray in …