Western Digital could regain market share quickly

Fri Dec 2, 2011 11:12am EST

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(Reuters) - Hard disk drive maker Western Digital Corp, the worst hit by the Thai floods, could recover the market share it has lost to smaller rival Seagate Technology faster-than-anticipated, analysts said.

Western Digital on Friday said it partly resumed production ahead of schedule and raised its outlook for the December quarter, prompting at least three brokerages to raise their price targets on the stock.

Seagate was the least hit among hard disk drive makers and its factories were running at full capacity after the floods.

Western Digital shares, which have gained more than a quarter since hitting a year low in October, were trading up 11 percent at $32.37 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. They rose as much as 14 percent earlier in the session.

Brokerage ThinkEquity said Western Digital could gain additional capacity and earnings power in the June quarter as the company expects to close its acquisition of Hitachi Ltd's hard disk drive business by March.

ThinkEquity analysts raised their rating on the company to "buy" from "hold."

Barclays Capital expects "Western Digital will be able to recover lost share from Seagate much faster than expected," and raised its price target on the stock to $40 from $35.

(Reporting by Rachana Khanzode in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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