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Tech Industry

Micron leads chip-stock revival

    Micron Technology shares charged up 13 3/16, or 11 percent, to 128 Wednesday after a pair of brokerage firms upgraded the chipmaker. It was one of several chip stocks making strong gains.

    Banc of America Securities raised its rating from a "market perform" to a "strong buy" while Robertson Stephens hiked it from a "buy" rating to a "strong buy."

    Robertson Stephens also set a 12-month price target of $200 a share.

    All this enthusiasm comes less than three weeks after Micron (NYSE: MU) missed Street estimates by 16 cents a share in its second quarter.

    In the quarter, it earned $161 million, or 58 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 billion. Lower DRAM margins were largely responsible for the shortfall.

    Among other leading chip stocks, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) moved up 4 1/8 to 65 1/4 after telling the Street expects first-quarter sales in excess of $1 billion; Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq: RMBS) added 10 to 219; Altera Corp. (Nasdaq: ALTR) shot up 3 15/16 to 89 3/16 and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) slipped 1/2 to 132 1/4.

    First Call consensus expects Micron to bounce back with a profit of 55 cents a share in its third quarter.

    Micron, which also announced a 2-for-1 split last month, hit a 52-week high of 143 1/8 in March after bottoming out at 34 1/4 in May.

    Eighteen of the 24 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.