MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 31 -- Spectra-Physics announced that it expects to report lower than anticipated net sales, ranging from $30 million to $32 million, for the first quarter ending April 2, 1999. These expected results compare with actual net sales of $43.6 million for the first quarter of 1998. The company also announced a reduction in force of approximately 7 percent, which reduction has been implemented to bring costs and expenses in line with the revised revenue expectations.The company attributed these revised expectations to a general weakness in demand across several key application markets, including those for high-power semiconductor-based lasers. Since the second quarter of 1998 the company's orders have been affected by the slowdown in the commercial printing and graphics market, the continuing worldwide weakness in the semiconductor and disk drive industries, and the impact of adverse macroeconomic conditions on Asian markets.As a result of lower sales expectations, Spectra-Physics anticipates a first-quarter net loss ranging from $1.6 million to $2.1 million, or a diluted loss of $0.10 to $0.13 per share. This expected loss, which includes the effect of a pre-tax restructuring charge of approximately $0.4 million related to the reduction in force, compares with actual net income of $2.1 million, or $0.13 diluted earnings per share, for the same period a year ago.