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Brocade jumps after analyst sets &#034buy&#034 ratings

Brocade Communications moved up $16.50, or 8 percent, to $224.44 Tuesday after Merrill Lynch started the stock with near-term and long-term "buy" recommendations.

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) makes fiber channel switches and software for storage area networks.

Its success Tuesday gave a boost to competitors Emulex (Nasdaq: EMLX), up $15.31 to $139 and QLogic (Nasdaq: QLGC), up $6.69 to $94.

In its latest quarter, Brocade flew past analysts' estimates, earning $20.1 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $92 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expects Brocade to earn 20 cents a share in its fourth quarter and $1.05 a share in fiscal 2001.

The stock stormed up to a 52-week high of $267.44 earlier this month after falling to a low of $55.06 in December.

Fifteen of the 17 analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."