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Another strong quarter for Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter Wednesday, earning $510 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $5.05 billion.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 26 cents a share in the quarter.

Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) shares moved up $2.63 to $114 shortly after the earnings were officially released.

The stock opened at $108 Wednesday morning but moved up more than $10 a share after a headline outlining the company's earnings report was inadvertently posted on its corporate Web site.

The $5.05 billion in sales marks a 60 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $276 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $3.15 billion.

"This is a great beginning to our fiscal year 2001; we're picking up right where we left off last year," said CEO Scott McNealy in a prepared release. "We continue to post the kind of numbers that reflect our ongoing share gains in the market place."

Net income of $510 million represents an 85 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter.

Last quarter, Sun topped analysts' estimates when it returned a profit of $659.5 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $5.02 billion.

Analysts expect Sun to earn $1.33 a share in the fiscal year.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of $129.31 in August after falling to a low of $44 last October.

Twenty-three of the 24 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."