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Freescale Semi climbs as 4Q results top Street

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Freescale Semiconductor surged Wednesday as the company's fourth-quarter results topped analysts' expectations. It also provided a first-quarter revenue forecast above Wall Street's view.

THE SPARK: On Tuesday Freescale reported a quarterly loss of 14 cents per share on revenue of $957 million. Its adjusted loss was 15 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted a loss of 17 cents per share on revenue of $940.4 million.

For the first quarter, Freescale anticipates revenue between $945 million and $985 million. Wall Street expects $932.2 million in revenue for the Austin, Texas company.

THE ANALYSIS: Citi Investment Research's Glen Yeung said in a client note that Freescale's first-quarter revenue outlook topping Wall Street's view provides further evidence that the chip sector may be close to making a recovery.

The analyst said that the company started seeing better business activity back in October, and that it has continued through January. This improved activity is also occurring among Freescale's peers, he added.

Yeung maintained a "Buy" rating and increased Freescale's price target to $18 from $15.

SHARE ACTION: Freescale Semiconductor Ltd.'s stock added $2.07, or 16.7 percent, to $14.46 in midday trading. Over the past year, the shares have traded in a range of $7.63 to $17.84.