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Strong 1Q results, analyst comments no help to Network Appliance shares

Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP) shares fell 6 1/2, or 7 percent, to 84 1/4 Tuesday, one day after it hurdled analysts' estimates in its first quarter.

On Monday, the vendor of network file serving and caching devices posted a profit of $32.3 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $231.2 million.

First Call's survey of 19 analysts predicted a profit of 8 cents a share in the quarter.

On Tuesday, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, Prudential Securities, Robertson Stephens and SunTrust Equities all reiterated "strong buy" ratings on the company.

"This improvement was driven by an increase in software sales, reduced component costs, and higher service margins resulting from NTAPs substantial investment in customer service," Robertson Stephens analyst Dane Lewis said in research note.

Including goodwill writedowns and one-time write-offs of in-process R&D, Network Appliance earned almost $5 million, or a penny per share.

First quarter revenue increased 124 percent year-over-year to $231.2 million. Company executives credited the sales growth to overall market demand.

Its shares fell to a low of 13 7/16 last August before rallying up to a 52-week high of 124 in March.

All 20 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy.">