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American Xtal plows past 4Q estimates

American Xtal Technology gave its investors a reason to cheer Wednesday after it hurdled analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, pocketing $1.6 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $21.8 million.

First Call consensus expected American Xtal (Nasdaq: AXTI) to earn 6 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, the Fremont, Calif.-based company's stock shot up 4 5/16, or 15 percent, to 33 15/16.

The $21.8 million in sales marks a modest improvement from the year-ago quarter when it posted a profit of $1.8 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $20.6 million.

In addition, the maker of high-performance compound semiconductor base materials restated the first three quarters of its fiscal year after learning that some of the expenses related to its May acquisition of Lyte Optronics were underestimated.

For the year, American Xtal now says it earned $3.5 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $81.5 million, before taking into account acquisition costs of $2.8 million and the extraordinary loss of $500,000 associated with the acquisition of Lyte Optronics.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 49 9/16 earlier this month after falling to a low of 10 7/8 in November.

Seven of the eight analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

Analysts expect American Xtal to report a profit of 68 cents a share in fiscal 2000.>