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Network Appliance 2Q profits exceed forecasts

Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP) topped analyst forecasts in the second quarter.

After market close Tuesday, the provider of file server and network caching technology reported fiscal second quarter earnings of $16 million, or 19 cents per share. First Call's survey of a dozen analysts predicted a profit of 17 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 29.

Also Tuesday, Network Appliance announced a 2-for-1 stock split, to take effect Dec. 20 for shareholders of Dec. 10 record. The company will have 149.3 million shares outstanding following the split, which will be the third since the company went public in 1995.

Second quarter revenue increased to $124.7 million, a 90 percent increase from $65.6 million in the year ago period, when Network Appliance earned $8.4 million, or 11 cents per share.

"Network Appliance continues to benefit from our market leadership position in storage appliances and web caching," said Dan Warmenhoven, president and CEO. "During the second quarter, demand for our filer and NetCache(TM) products accelerated across each of our geographic areas. We are especially pleased with the growing customer acceptance of our software products, which have become an increasing percentage of our business over the past year."

Shares of Network Appliance gained 13 9/16 to 103 7/16 in Tuesday's regular trading, prior to the earnings report. Of 11 analysts surveyed by Zack's Investment Research, seven recommend Network Appliance as a "strong buy", three maintain the equivalent of "moderate buy" ratings, and one has a "hold" advisory on the stock.>

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