Orange County Business Journal

Western Digital Jumps on Bullish Analyst Comments

Michael Lyster Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shares of Irvine disk drive maker bucked a down day on Wall Street Thursday after an analyst offered an upbeat projection on the company’s performance for the current quarter.

Western Digital’s shares closed up 7% to a market value of $8.6 billion.

The company, which makes disk drives for computers and consumer electronics, could beat expectations for the June quarter and up its guidance for the three months through September, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.

The analyst based her projection on a revised forecast for industrywide drive sales.

For the three months through, 163 million disk drives could be sold, Huberty said, up from an earlier estimate of 160 million.

For the September quarter, 180 million drives could be sold, up from an earlier forecast of 170, according to Huberty.

Improving demand for drives from PC makers and stable supplies are behind Huberty’s upped forecast.

Western Digital is the largest maker of disk drives, followed by Northern California’s Seagate Technology LLC.

Seagate’s shares rose about 5% Thursday to a market value of nearly $7 billion.

Western Digital is in the process of buying disk drive maker Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd. for $4.3 billion.

Seagate is buying Samsung Electronics Co.’s disk drive business for $1.4 billion.