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profit plunged 73% in its fiscal fourth quarter, but the chipmaker managed to beat Wall Street's lackluster expectations.

The Santa Clara, Calif., graphics chipmaker posted net income of $61.7 million, or 11 cents a share, in the three months ended Oct. 26, vs. net income of $235.7 million, or 38 cents a share, at this time last year.

Excluding $8.3 million in restructuring charges, as well as $38 million in stock compensation expenses and a $4.5 million charge related to a royalty dispute, Nvidia said it earned 20 cents a share.

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Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for 12 cents a share, excluding charges.

Shares of Nvidia were up 5%, or 38 cents, at $8 in extended trading Thursday.

The company boosted its gross margin two percentage points sequentially to 41% in the third quarter, ahead of its own forecast and the average analyst expectation of 39.6% gross margin.

"Improving gross margin while managing operating expenses enabled us to significantly improve our operating fundamentals," said CEO Jen-Hsun Huang in a statement.

Sales in the quarter were down 20% year over year at $897.6 million, slightly ahead of the $890 million expected by analysts.

The company did not provide a forecast for the current quarter, but is scheduled to hold a conference call with analysts later Thursday.