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Seagate hurdles 4Q forecasts

Seagate topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday, posting a profit of 22 cents a share, on sales of $1.55 billion.

First Call Corp. consensus pegged the disk-drive and software manufacturer for a profit of 20 cents a share in the quarter.

Seagate (NYSE: SEG) shares closed up 1/2 to 62 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

The $1.55 billion in sales was down slightly from the $1.64 billion it recorded in the year-ago quarter.

On a pro forma basis, it earned $52 million, or 22 cents a share.

On an as reported basis, which includes gains on the sale of investments in publicly traded companies and certain expenses, Seagate had net income of $231 million, or 96 cents a share, compared with $1.02 billion, or $4.53 a share in the year-ago quarter.

Last quarter, Seagate earned $46 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $1.57 billion.

Its shares moved as high as 76 in March after falling to a 52-week low of 25 1/8 last July.

Eight of the 13 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."