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Rambus plows past fourth-quarter forecasts

Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq: RMBS) rolled past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday, pocketing $2.6 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $12.3 million.

First Call consensus expected the Mountain View, Calif. chipmaker to earn 8 cents a share in the quarter.

Its shares closed up 1 9/16 to 72 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

The $12.3 million in sales marked a 27 percent improvement versus the year-ago period when it earned $2 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $9.7 million.

For the fiscal year, Rambus earned $8.7 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $43.4 million compared to $6.7 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $37.9 million in fiscal 1998.

Rambus shares were pummeled in September after the company confirmed that it was wrestling with programming bugs in memory chipsets it was making for Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) "Camino" chip.

The stock fell from more than $90 a share in late September to less than $60 a share in just a few days.

For its part, Intel disappointed Wall Street by missing analysts' third-quarter profit estimates for the second consecutive quarter.

Last quarter, Rambus shot past Street estimates, earning $2 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $10.6 million.

Rambus shares peaked at 117 1/2 in July after falling to a low of 51 1/2 in April.

First Call consensus expects Rambus to earn 68 cents a share in fiscal 2000.