Western Digital Hikes Targets

Shares rise on an upbeat forecast.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Hard disk-drive makers are continuing to reap the gains of buoyant demand, greater control over component prices and restrained production.

For the second time in consecutive quarters,

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Report

raisedits financial forecasts. Citing strong demand, steady pricing and lowinventories, the company said on Wednesday morning that it expects toearn $1.02 to $1.06 a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of$2.03 billion to $2.08 billion in the second quarter.

The new estimates are sharply higher than the company's previousOutlook, as well as analysts' expectations of 77 cents a share onrevenue of $1.9 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

The announcement follows bullish remarks from Bill Watkins, chiefexecutive of hard disk-drive maker

Seagate Technology

(STX) - Get Report

. At a CreditSuisse event last week, Watkins told investors that continueddemand for hard disk drives used in personal computers, business-storage devices and digital-video recorders for home televisions haskept inventories below expectations and propped up pricing power.

In addition to strong demand, the industry is benefiting fromrestrained output from Asian conglomerates, namely

Hitachi

(HIT)

, whosehard-drive unit has lost money through heavy production aimed atgaining market share.

Together, Seagate and Western Digital hold about 57% of the market.

Shares of Western Digital were recently rising $2.45, nearly 9%, to$30.68. The news also helped Seagate shares, which gained $1.10, or more than 4%, to $26.70.