National Semi hits Q4 targets

National Semiconductor Corp. met analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday but still lost $40m (£24.4m), or 24 cents a share, on sales of $486m. Its shares closed up 1 3/16 to 22 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected National Semi to lose 24 cents a share in the quarter.

Including a one-time charge of $688.4m for dumping the Cyrix processor business, the company lost $783.5m, or $4.65 a share, in the quarter. On a brighter note, company officials now expect to return to profitability by the second quarter. "We are now on track to be profitable in the November quarter," said CEO Brian Halla in a prepared release. "The PC processor business accounted for approximately $45m in losses during the fourth quarter, and we will complete our exit from that business during the summer quarter."

For the year, National Semi lost $220.6m, or $1.32 a share, on sales of $2bn, a far cry from the previous year when it earned $72.7m, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $2.5bn.

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