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Exabyte jumps after eclipsing 2Q estimates

Exabyte shares rallied up 1 1/2, or 35 percent, to 5 3/4 Thursday after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter.

The network storage device maker checked in with a loss of $9.6 million, or 43 cents a share, on sales of $51.3 million.

First Call Corp. consensus pegged the Boulder, Colo. company for a loss of 51 cents a share in the quarter.

The $51.3 million in sales marks a 6 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $16.9 million, or 76 cents a share, on sales of $48.5 million.

Company officials attributed the upside surprise to rising gross margins and gains in tape library market share with its Mammoth-2 automation product. The company said backlog has increased "modestly" across all of its product categories from year-ago levels.

"We are very pleased with the progress made during the second quarter toward the objective of returning the business to profitability," said CEO Bill Marriner in a prepared release.

Last quarter, Exabyte reported a loss of $13.6 million, or 60 cents a share, on sales of $49.6 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 10 7/8 in February before falling to a low of 3 1/8 in April.

Analysts expect it to lose $1.80 a share in the fiscal year.