Sun reports another bumper quarter

Sun Microsystems strong quarterly earnings yesterday, beating Wall Street expectations by three cents per share.

For its third fiscal quarter ending March 31, Sun reported net income of $US436.2 million, an increase of 49 per cent from $292 million a year ago, excluding one-time investment gains and acquisition-related charges. Earnings per share totalled 26 cents, up 44 per cent from 18 cents a share in the same period last year.

A consensus of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial predicted Sun would record 23 cents per share. The results excluded a gain of $112.3 million on the sale of equity investments and $4.9 million charged in connection with the acquisition of Trustbase. Including these items, net income would be $508 million, with earnings per share at 30 cents.

Sun posted revenue for the quarter of $4 billion, up 35 per cent from $2.95 billion the year before. Scott McNealy, Sun chairman and CEO, said in a statement that Sun's business grew even during the so-called "Y2K lockdown".

Some analysts had warned that problems related to the year 2000 date change could slow IT spending. Sun's gain came amid a further dip in the technology-weighted Nasdaq exchange, which closed on Thursday at 3676, down 92.8 points or 2.46 per cent. Sun's stock closed at $77.75, down $2.25, or 2.8 per cent.

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