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Shares of biometrics company



were up over 20% after it announced a contract win from the Defense Department on Thursday.

Identix said the government ordered 450 units of its fingerprint reader for verification services. "The high imaging performance that this product delivers enables government agencies involved with immigration, passport and ID issuance, social service programs, financial payment systems, and other ID programs to be more efficient," said Joseph Atick, chief executive officer of Identix in a statement.

Identix is one of many security firms looking to cash in on homeland security spending next year. Among its product offerings are facial recognition technology, in addition to fingerprint readers. However, the company warned on Dec. 16 that revenue for 2003 would be lower than expected, as a result of delays in government spending plans. The news sent the stock down 19% that day.

Following Thursday's announcement, the stock was lately higher by $1.01, or 21%, at $5.85.