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Macromedia gains on earnings, upgrades

    Macromedia shares surged up 16 3/4, or 27 percent, to 78 Thursday, one day after the software developer easily topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter.

    On Thursday, Advest Inc. upgraded Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) from a "buy" recommendation to a "strong buy" while Merrill Lynch bumped it from a near-term "accumulate" rating to a near-term "buy."

    In the quarter, Macromedia raked in $12.5 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $89.3 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the software developer to earn 16 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its sales of $89.3 million marks a 95 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it pocketed $3.9 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $45.8 million.

    "It has been a great year for Macromedia," said CEO Rob Burgess in a prepared release. "Our financial results reflect the accelerating strength and momentum of our business, and are a testament to the product and business foundation we have been putting in place for several years."

    For the year, Macromedia posted a profit of $30.4 million, or 56 cents a share, on sales of $264.2 million compared to a profit of $8.1 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $133.2 million in fiscal 1999.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 100 in March after falling to a low of 27 3/8 in August.

    Analysts expect it to earn 90 cents a share in fiscal 2001.