AMD wins hearts on Wall Street

Post-Valentine's day prezzie for the chip maker -- two major financial observers upgrade their expectations

Banc of America and Goldman Sachs have both improved their opinions on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), after the company said it expects higher-than-expected first quarter revenues.

Banc of America on Tuesday raised its 2000 earnings estimate for AMD to $2.35 (£1.5) from $2.05 a share due to "strong business fundamentals". 2001 earnings estimates were up $3.25 a share from $2.50 a share.

The bank said "significant upside exists" on both earnings estimates, because AMD is "off to a fast start in 2000". The bank reiterated a strong buy rating on the stock.

AMD shares gained 3/16 to 43-3/8 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Just Monday, Goldman Sachs said analyst Joe Moore upgraded the stock to market outperformer from market performer. The group also raised its 2001 earnings per share estimate to $1.90 from $1.80.

At a Goldman Sachs investment conference on Friday, the processor manufacturer announced that it expects to report flat or slightly higher first quarter revenue on a sequential basis.

Wall Street analysts generally expected a seasonal decline for AMD following the traditionally strong holiday period. "Demand for low-end microprocessors has been stronger than expected," said WJ Sanders III, chairman and CEO of AMD. "Business across the board continues to be robust."

Friday's announcement came not long after AMD shocked Wall Street and topped analyst consensus by 4,200 percent in the fourth quarter. Sales of the company's processors have been surging even as rival Intel chip maker has seen problems making enough of its Coppermine processors to meet OEM demands.

Sergio G. Non contributed to this report.

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