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Micron Technology falls short of 1Q consensus

    Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) missed the consensus estimate by 2 cents in the first quarter.

    After market close Wednesday, the memory chip vendor reported fiscal first quarter net income of $352 million, or 58 cents per share. First Call's survey of 24 analysts predicted a profit of 60 cents per share for the quarter ended Nov. 30.

    Shares of Micron traded at 29.5 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, immediately following the release of quarterly results. Micron fell 4.9375 to 29.8125 in Wednesday's regular trading ahead of the earnings report.

    Overall, first quarter revenue was $1.8 billion, down from $2.6 billion in the fourth quarter and up from $1.6 billion a year ago. Micron's semiconductor revenue fell 30 percent year-over-year to $1.6 billion. Megabits shipped dropped 25 percent and average selling prices fell 10 percent, the company said.

    Micron's gross margin fell to 49 percent from 58 percent in the fourth quarter because of lower selling prices and higher component costs, the company said.

    Executives were pleased with the results.

    "Despite declining market conditions, Micron had a very strong quarter," said Steve Appleton, chairman, president and CEO. "Since quarter end, market conditions for our primary products have continued to weaken resulting in significant declines in average selling prices and higher inventory levels. Micron is well positioned with leading edge process technology, low-cost manufacturing expertise and strong financials."

    Many observers expected Micron to fall short of the published First Call forecast, because of the spate of warnings coming from the PC industry. In fact, the earnings reported Wednesday topped the expectations of at least a few research firms, including Salomon Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch and Thomas Weisel Partners.

    Micron Technology's PC subsidiary, Micron Electronics (Nasdaq: MUEI), reported fiscal first quarter earnings of 2 cents per share on revenue of $404 million. That was in line with First Call consensus, and in the range of a Micron Electronics warning a few weeks ago.

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