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Sun Earnings Top Estimates

The cat was let out of the bag Wednesday but the folks at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. had something to smile about anyway with fiscal 2001 first quarter share earnings that topped analysts' estimates by five cents per share.

The company's earnings were mistakenly posted to its site Wednesday morning, though Sun had not been due to report earnings until after markets had closed. The results for the quarter, which ended Oct. 1, indicated net income of $510 million, an increase of 85 percent over last year's net income of $276 million. That adds up to earnings of 30 cents per share, an 88 percent increase from earnings in the same period a year ago. The company also said revenue grew 60 percent to $5.045 billion from $3.15 billion for the same period a year ago. Orders were up 54 percent to $5.049 billion.

"This is a great beginning to our fiscal year 2001; we're picking up right where we left off last year," said Scott McNealy, chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems. "We continue to post the kind of numbers that reflect our ongoing share gains in the market place."

Although Sun rapidly pulled the earnings information from its site, it had already been seen and Sun's shares surged to $119.50 before the Nasdaq Composite Index halted trading of the stock from 12:14 p.m. to 1:03 p.m. The stock retreated to about $111.38 when trading resumed. It was trading at about $114.81 by mid-afternoon.

McNealy said one of the principal drivers behind Sun's increases is its new Sun StorEdge T3 storage array. The company also has high hopes for its new UltraSPARC III processors, which is powering its Sun Blade 1000 workstation group and Sun Fire 280R workgroup server.

"This was a record setting first quarter, in every respect, including orders, revenue, net income and EPS," said Michael E. Lehman, vice president of Corporate Resources and chief financial officer of Sun. "All geographies posted outstanding results."



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