Another strong quarter for Sun Microsystems

Shares up $10 as earnings accidentally posted early on Web site

Sun Microsystems easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter Wednesday, earning $510m (about £347m), or 30 cents a share, on sales of $5.05bn. First Call consensus expected it to earn 26 cents a share in the quarter. Sun Microsystems shares moved up $2.63 to $114 shortly after the earnings were officially released.

The stock opened at $108 Wednesday morning but moved up more than $10 a share after a headline outlining the company's earnings report was inadvertently posted on its corporate Web site.

The $5.05bn in sales marks a 60 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $276m, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $3.15bn.

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

Net income of $510m represents an 85 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter. Last quarter, Sun topped analysts' estimates when it returned a profit of $659.5m, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $5.02bn. Analysts expect Sun to earn $1.33 a share in the fiscal year.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of $129.31 in August after falling to a low of $44 last October. Twenty-three of the 24 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy".

Take me to ZDNet's Q3 Earnings Roundup.

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