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Western Digital Jumps on Rival Seagate's Quarterly Results
 
Shares of Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. jumped after the close of New York trading on Wednesday after the company’s top rival, Scotts Valley’s Seagate Technology LLC posted better than expected results for the December quarter.

Western Digital’s shares rose 5% in after hours trading on a recent market value of around $10 billion.

For the three months through Jan. 1, Seagate swung to a profit of $533 million compared with a loss of $2.8 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 33% to $3.03 billion.

“Our strong financial performance in the December quarter was the result of our ongoing progress in driving operational efficiencies, our leadership position in high capacity, high performance products, an improved product mix and the overall strength of demand for digital storage,” Seagate Chief Executive Steve Luczo said in a statement.

The news bodes well for Western Digital, which is set to report results on Thursday.

Analysts, on average, are expecting Western Digital to post profits of $307 million on sales of $2.4 billion.

Unlike Seagate, the biggest maker of disk drives, Western Digital didn’t miss a beat during the downturn of the past year or so.

As corporations and consumers suddenly stopped spending on technology, Western Digital swiftly cut jobs, pared executive pay, slowed production at factories and slashed other costs.

Seagate ended up bearing the brunt of the downturn with its focus on drives for personal computers and servers. Drives for laptops and consumer electronics cushioned the blow for Western Digital.

Western Digital surpassed Seagate in the industry’s fastest-growing category—drives that go into laptops and their smaller cousins, netbooks. It’s neck-and-neck with Seagate for drives that go into desktop computers.

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