SUNNYVALE, California (
) -- Enterprise data storage may not be sexy, but weak
is adding to the luster of storage makers such as
, which reports its fourth-quarter results after the markets close Wednesday.
, for example, have highlighted
for storage as corporations refresh their IT infrastructures. NetApp looks set to continue this trend. The consumer market, in contrast, continues to be problematic, as evidenced by recent results from
NetApp's fiscal fourth-quarter results should benefit from strong demandfundamentals in networked storage and share gains," explained
analyst Bill Shope, in a note.
Shope pointed, in particular, to a recent Goldman Sachs survey of 100 U.S. CIOs which suggests that NetApp is gaining traction in large enterprise accounts.
"We may see some top-line upside, given the aforementioned demand strength, revenue shifted from January quarter after supply constraints limited output, and conservative expectations," he added.
NetApp enjoyed a profit boost in the
, though the company's outlook spooked investors.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for fourth-quarter revenue of $1.387 billion and earnings of 53 cents a share, compared to $1.17 billion and 50 cents a share in the prior year's quarter.
NetApp's momentum is as brisk today as it was this time last year," added Canaccord Genuity analyst Paul Mansky, in a note. "Supply chain issues are non-existent, pricing pressure concerns have failed to materialize and we suspect there was a strong backlog build headed into July."
Mansky, who recently upgraded NetApp to buy from hold, also expects to see healthy fourth-quarter margins.
There is, however, a big question mark hanging over NetApp's strategy, in the shape of its $480 million acquisition of
Engenio storage business. The company's stock plummeted when it
the deal in March, amid concerns about integration challenges. NetApp executives are therefore likely to face questions on this issue during the earnings conference call after the results are issued.
Public sector will be another area of interest for NetApp investors, particularly after weak government sales
"It will be important to determine whether NetApp is seeing the public sector weakness that has been evident in other areas of the technology segment in recent months," explained Goldman Sachs' Shope, adding that the public sector accounts for about 20% of NetApp's overall revenue. P/>NetApp shares gained 73 cents, or 1.4%, to $52.20 on Wednesday, outpacing the modest advance in tech stocks that saw the
--Written by James Rogers in New York.
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