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Ingram Micro's Strong Sales Not Enough

SANTA ANA, Calif. ( TheStreet) - Ingram Micro's (IM - Get Report) fourth-quarter sales came in well ahead of Wall Street's average view but the company's stock fell in extended trades as its profit came in a penny short because of weak gross margins.

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based technology products distributor enjoyed revenue of $9.88 billion, up from $8.81 billion in the same period last year, and well above Wall Street's forecast of $9.57 billion.

The company reported a profit of $115 million, or 71 cents a share, for the December period, including a gain of 5 cents a share related to a partial release of reserves for commercial taxes on software imports into Brazil. Excluding that gain, earnings per share would total 66 cents a share, just shy of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The company's results follow good quarterly numbers from a slew of big-name technology firms, including Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , IBM (IBM - Get Report) and McAfee (MFE), and suggest that corporations are beefing up their technology infrastructure.

"Sales levels for Asia-Pacific and Latin America reached quarterly highs and sales growth in North America - for both the fourth quarter and the year - was the strongest in 10 years," said Gregory Spierkel, the Ingram Micro CEO, in a statement. "Strong demand for technology products provided a welcome tailwind."

The firm's fourth-quarter gross margin, however, was 5.66%, a decrease of three basis points compared to the prior year's quarter, and Spierkel prepped Wall Street for more of the same in the current quarter.

"We expect first-quarter sales to follow a historical seasonal pattern, with a normal sequential decline and modest year-over-year growth," he said in the statement. "Gross margins are also expected to decline sequentially due to seasonality and competitive dynamics in certain markets."

Shares of Ingram Micro shares dipped 79 cents, or 3.8%, to $19.99 in extended trading on Thursday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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