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Anecdotal news from large buyers of semiconductors fostered a belief on Wall Street that the bottom of the industry downturn is near. Investors were optimistic about chip-equipment companies last week, which had been battered by the worst slump in the semiconductor industry's history.
That slowdown had hit companies that make equipment used to manufacture and test chips.
Wall Street responded to the news by favoring several companies, including Brooks Automation Inc. of Chelmsford, PRI Automation Inc. of Billerica, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. of Gloucester, Axcelis Technologies Inc. of Beverly, Ibis Technology Corp. of Danvers and Teradyne Inc. of Boston.
All had been hurt by the slowdown. But last week, their stocks climbed, anywhere from 13 percent to 25 percent from the opening bell …