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Western Digital Cuts First-Quarter Forecast Citing Muted Demand

Western Digital Corp., the largest maker of hard-disk drives, cut its forecasts for sales and market size in the current quarter, citing muted demand for personal computers.

Revenue will be $3.9 billion to $4 billion in the three months that end Sept. 28, Irvine, California-based Western Digital said yesterday in a statement. That’s down from an earlier projection for sales of $4.2 billion to $4.3 billion and compares with an average analyst estimate of $4.28 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Western Digital’s revision adds to evidence that demand for personal computers and components is faltering in a period when it normally grows, as manufacturers build machines in preparation for year-end holiday sales. The announcement follows forecast reductions by Seagate Technology Plc in July and Intel Corp. last week.

The total available market for hard drives will be 140 million units, rather than 157 million, as previously projected, Western Digital said.

Shares fell 1.7 percent in extended trading yesterday after the announcement. The stock had earlier gained 2.7 percent to $42.58 at the close in New York, leaving it up 38 percent this year.

The company said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 25 cents a share, payable on Oct. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 28. It also added $1.5 billion to a share buyback program.

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