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Strong 3Q earnings lift Rambus shares to new high

Shares of Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq: RMBS) moved up 13 9/16, or 14 percent, to a 52-week high of 11 1/8 Thursday after the chipmaker beat analysts' estimates by 2 cents a share in its third quarter.

On Thursday, Hambrecht & Quist bumped the stock's 12-month price target to $125 a share.

In the quarter, Rambus raked in $2 million, or 8 cents a share, same as the previous quarter. First Call's survey of five analysts predicted earnings of 6 cents.

Third quarter revenue rose 16 percent year-over-year, to $10.6 million from $9.2 million. Most of Rambus' business currently comes from contract revenues, although license revenue should pick up as customers start to roll out products incorporating Rambus' technology, which speeds up communication between memory chips and processors.

In April, Rambus had said earnings would be flat for the rest of the fiscal year, as customers developed products with Rambus technology. Several licensees of Rambus' RDRAM completed successful tests during the quarter, the company said. Micron Technology, one of the world's largest makers of memory chips, has begun shipping samples. But the big push for Rambus could come in September, when Intel rolls out its first chipset incorporating RDRAM support.

Of five analysts surveyed by Zack's Investment's Research, two recommend Rambus as a "strong buy", two rate the stock a "moderate buy", and one has a "hold" rating on the stock.>