Seagate misses reduced estimates in 4Q

Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG) missed reduced earnings estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday, earning $69 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $1.64 billion.

First Call consensus expected the disk-drive manufacturer to earn 34 cents a share.

Its stock closed off 1/4 to 30 ahead of the earnings report.

Earlier this quarter, Seagate officials warned it would fall short of First Call's original profit estimates of 49 cents a share in the quarter.

At the time, Seagate was worried that weak demand and lower average selling prices would erode total sales and profit margins.

They were right.

For the year, Seagate earned $1.1 billion, or $4.53 a share, on sales of $6.8 billion. In fiscal 1998, Seagate lost $530 million, or $2.17 a share, on sales of $6.8 billion.

Seagate shares moved up to a 52-week high of 44 1/4 in January after falling to a low of 16 1/8 in August.

Despite its recent woes, Seagate has received favorable coverage
from the investment community.

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