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Sandisk soars on upgrade

Sandisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) was up 16 percent Tuesday after the maker of flash memory data storage products got an upgrade from Merrill Lynch.

Shares were up 20 3/16 to 145 3/16 Tuesday, and soared recently on a stock-split and strong fourth-quarter results.

"Given that demand for data storage flash memory is far outstripping the available supply," Merrill Lynch said it upgraded Sandisk from an "accumulate/buy" to "buy." The stock was also given a price target of $200, or 174 times new 2001 earnings estimates of $1.15 a share.

A report from the investment firm said "recent visits with top memory manufacturers in Asia re-affirmed our belief of continued supply/demand imbalances." Sandisk appears to be fully booked for this quarter, the second quarter of 2000, and well into the third quarter, said Merrill.

Merrill Lynch also raised its revenue and earnings estimates for 2000 from $465 million and 70 cents a share, respectively, to $505 million and 81 cents a share, respectively.