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Network Appliance gains on earnings, analyst comments

Network Appliance Corp. (Nasdaq: NTAP) shares surged up 11 9/16, or 8 percent, to a 52-week high of 163 1/8 Wednesday, one day after it topped Street estimates in its fourth quarter and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

In the quarter, Network Appliance raked in $19.8 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $151.3 million.

First Call consensus expected it to earn 10 cents a share in the quarter.

On Wednesday, Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating and set a 12-month price target of $200 a share based on the company's "incredible momentum, strong management, compelling business model (and) Internet infrastructure story."

Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro raised her fiscal 2000 and fiscal 2001 earnings estimates to 41 cents a share and 60 cents a share, respectively.

PaineWebber's Don Young boosted his fiscal 2001 earnings estimate to 61 cents a share from 55 cents and raised his 12-month price target to $225 a share from $150 a share.

Thirteen of the 14 analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.