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Micron tears past 4Q estimates

    Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) smashed analyst expectations in the fourth quarter.

    After market close Wednesday, the memory chip giant reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings of $727 million, or $1.20 per share. First Call's survey of 26 analysts predicted a profit of 96 cents per share for the quarter ended Aug. 31.

    Shares of Micron traded at 47.25 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, immmediately following the release of quarterly results. Micron stock closed Wednesday's regular trading at 46.9375, up 3.875 for the session.

    Fourth quarter revenue increased to $2.6 billion, a 138 percent gain year-over-year and an improvement of almost 43 percent from the third quarter.

    Also Wednesday, Micron said it has called for the redemption of $740 million in 6.5 percent convertible notes held by Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN). Those notes may be converted into 24.7 million shares of Micron.

    The company credited higher chip prices for boosting fourth quarter net income. Gross margin for Micron's chip operations rose to 58 percent from 43 percenti nthe third quarter.

    Micron's PC business saw a 15 percent revenue improvement sequentially, and a 35 percent increase in unit sales. Gross margin in PCs fell to 12 percent from 13 percent in the third quarter.

    For the full fiscal 2000, Micron reported net income of $1.5 billion, or $2.56 per share, on revenue of $7.3 billion.>