Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Wednesday reported a fourth-quarter loss compared with a year-ago profit, but the company managed to post revenues that edged past analyst expectations and its own guidance on a year-end surge in sales of personal computer processors.

AMD, the No. 2 maker of microprocessors and memory chips after larger rival Intel Corp. , said it would post a profit in the second quarter of 2002 after a small loss in the current quarter on revenues of about $900 million.

AMD posted a net loss of $15.8 million, or 5 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 30, compared with year-earlier net income of $178 million, or 53 cents a share.

Sales fell to $952 million from $1.18 billion but were stronger than the company had forecast last month, thanks to robust sales of microprocessors that drive personal computers.

Analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 18 cents a share, within a wide range of forecasts from a loss of 13 cents to a loss of 28 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Revenue was pegged at $840 million.

Shares in AMD rallied to $19.10 in after-hours trade on theIsland system, up from $17.90 at the close of regular trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Although sales of PC microprocessors contracted sharply last year, holiday computer sales were not as grim as many had expected, contributing to AMD's fourth-quarter sales.

GAINS MARKET SHARE

AMD estimated that it gained four percentage points of market share as measured in units shipped during 2001 even as the PC industry saw its first-ever year-to-year decline in sales.

The company had said on Dec. 6 that it expected sales to rise 10 percent or a bit more from the third quarter's $765.9 million, a forecast that it easily topped as PC processor revenues surged by more than 50 percent compared with the third quarter.

The average selling prices for its processors also increased to $90, AMD said.

Typically, fourth-quarter sales are higher than in the third, paced by holiday sales. Intel had said in early December that supplies of its Pentium 4 chips were in tight supply, which could have benefited AMD as well.

AMD projected that it would ship about 7.8 million PC processors in the current quarter, near the record tally set in the fourth quarter, with average selling prices remaining steady near $90 per unit.

The company said that demand for its flash memory chips remained soft because of still-excessive inventories in the networking and communications sector, leading to a decline in sales from that product line.

AMD's results came a day after its principal rival, Intel, reported fourth-quarter results. Intel's sales rose sequentially from the third quarter and its revenue also topped expectations.

Shares of AMD have more than doubled since an Oct. 2, 2001, low for the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, a proxy for the semiconductor sector. In the same time period, that index has risen 50 percent while Intel stock has gained 73 percent.