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Read-Rite sees upside surprise in first quarter

Read-Rite shares rallied up $1.50, or 34 percent, to $6 Thursday after the disk-drive components maker said its first-quarter sales and earnings will top analysts’ estimates.

Company officials told investors to expect sales of more than $189 million in the quarter, a 30 percent improvement from the fourth quarter.

Read-Rite (Nasdaq: RDRT) also said it would return to profitability in the quarter and exceed the current First Call Corp. consensus profit estimate of 2 cents a share.

“The company will return to profitability this quarter and will exceed industry estimates regarding earnings per share,” said CEO Alan Lowe in a prepared release. “We are excited by this financial performance and we are hopeful it will continue as the company strives to gain additional market share during the coming year.”

Analysts were projecting first-quarter sales in the neighborhood of $172 million.

Last quarter, Read-Rite hurdled analysts’ estimates when it posted a loss of $16.1 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $146 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of $12.38 in October after falling to a low of $1.81 in June.

Three of the six analysts following the stock rate it either a “buy” or “strong buy.”

First Call Corp. predicts it will earn 22 cents a share in the fiscal year.