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Analysts See Mostly Bright Earnings

Customers opened their checkbooks for storage wares at the end of 2006, according to early forecasts from financial analysts.

That's no surprise, considering storage vendors usually finish the year strong due to a "budget flush," as companies spend what's left of their annual budgets.

With companies a few weeks away from reporting their results from last quarter, none of the major vendors have lowered their forecasts. Well, Adaptec did, but blamed it mostly on disappointing results of non-storage OEM products sold by IBM. (See Adaptec Lowers Outlook.)

In news that analysts say set the tone for the quarter, storage reseller Bell Microsystems said it did better than expected. (See Bell Micro Has Record Q4). Bell Micro set its preliminary revenue at between $1 billion and $1.05 billion, which would be an increase of around 20 percent from last year and well above its previous guidance of $920 million to $970 million.

Analyst Dan Renouard of R.W. Baird wrote in a research note that Bell Micro's strong performance validates Baird's VAR survey for last quarter that indicated "a strong quarter for servers, networked storage and hard drives."

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