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Sun's Financials Out of Step With Industry

The industry's rising financial tide apparently is not lifting all boats.

Sun Microsystems' financials continue to be out of sync with the rest of the industry, as the company posted its 11th consecutive year-over-year quarterly revenue decline for a period when other high-tech companies reported explosive growth.

Sun, Santa Clara, Calif., suffered a loss of $125 million, or 4 cents per share, for its second fiscal 2004 quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $2.28 billion, or 72 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Sales for the quarter were $2.89 billion, a decline of 0.9 percent from $2.92 billion for the same period last year.

To Sun's credit, its financials were up sequentially. Sales increased sequentially 13.9 percent, while total gross margin for the quarter as a percent of revenue, 41.8 percent, also was a sequential increase of 1.7 percent from the first fiscal quarter of 2004.

Sun's loss also was a penny lower than consensus estimates from Thomson Financial/First Call. Analysts had predicted Sun would lose 5 cents per share for the quarter. However, Sun did not fare as well as Merrill Lynch thought it would. The investment firm last week raised Sun's estimates, predicitng the vendor would produce earnings of 3 cents per share.

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