Semiconductor-manufacturing equipment maker ASM Pacific's share price plunged 14.04 per cent yesterday on the back of an earnings warning by a competitor and a downturn in investment in the wider semiconductor industry. The counter ended at HK$22.05. Turnover was at a hefty HK$148.45 million. Analysts said ASM's investors had probably overreacted to a profit warning issued by United States-based competitor Kulicke & Soffa Industries (K&S) - the largest semiconductor assembly equipment maker in the world. K&S shares plummeted 24.8 per cent on Thursday, after it warned investors that delayed orders due to customers' inventory build-up may hurt profit this quarter and next. Some inventors interpreted the news as a signal of waning demand for semiconductor chips. But analysts said the wider semiconductor industry was still on a booming track and was not expected to peak until 2002. They said the short delivery lead time of semiconductor equipment may have added to volatility of orders. 'The stock [ASM] is looking cheap, but there are a lot of worried people out there, as investors' bullishness in the whole sector has taken a beating lately,' one analyst said. ABN Amro analyst Paul Snelgrove said: 'It's general jitters. A lot of people have been over-weighting on the sector, any slightly bad news or market fears could drive the share price down.' ASM managing director Patrick Lam See-pong confirmed that one customer had asked for a delay in delivery of a die-bonder machine, but this amounted to a very small portion of its US$180 million in outstanding orders.