Sun Micro Loss Narrows; Shares Fall

Network computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) on Thursday posted a narrower quarterly loss after a large year-ago restructuring charge as revenue fell 1 percent.

Disappointed investors drove Sun Microsystems' shares down 3.3 percent in after hours trading. Sun's results came on the same day as its larger rival International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) unexpectedly reported disappointing first-quarter results, blaming difficulties in closing key deals.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun said its net loss for the fiscal third quarter ended March 27 narrowed to $9 million, or nil per share, from $760 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell slightly to $2.63 billion from $2.65 billion.

Excluding items, Sun said it had a loss of $61 million, or 2 cents per share, narrower than its year-ago loss before items of $260 million, or 8 cents per share.

Analysts had expected results before items of nil per share, on average, within a range of a loss of 2 cents to a profit of 1 cent, according to Reuters Estimates. Revenue was pegged at $2.72 billion.

Sun's Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy (search) said the the company had seen a "marked improvement" over the first nine months of fiscal 2004. "Break even is a huge move forward from the loss we experienced a year ago," he said in a statement.

As is customary with Sun, the company did not issue a forecast for its current quarter.

Shares of Sun fell to $3.83 in after-hours trade on Inet. In regular trade on Nasdaq, the stock fell 6 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $3.96.