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Seagate beats reduced 1Q forecasts

    Disk-drive maker Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG) topped lowered estimates in its first quarter Tuesday, earning $2 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $1.68 billion. Its shares closed off 3/8 to 31 3/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus pegged Seagate for a loss of 7 cents a share in the quarter.

    In early September, Seagate announced it would layoff 10 percent of its workforce and take a one-time charge of $200 million.

    However, it only absorbed a charge of $112 million related to its restructuring along with a charge of $102 million from its acquisition of Veritas Software Corp.

    Excluding the restructuring charge, the other charges related to its investment in Veritas and the gain on sale of Veritas stock, the pro forma diluted net income per share was 7 cents a share.

    The $1.68 billion in sales represents a modest improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it lost $30 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $1.55 billion.

    Seagate also announced that it bought back 21.3 million shares of its common stock from around $639 million in the quarter.

    Last quarter, it missed analysts' estimates, earning $69 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $1.64 billion.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 44 ? in January after falling to a low of 20 5/8 last October.

    Eight of the 15 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects Seagate to earn 28 cents a share in fiscal 2000.