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Sector Snap: Seagate, Western Digital rise

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of hard disk drive makers Western Digital Corp. and Seagate Technology rose Tuesday after an analyst for Brean Capital said March-quarter earnings at both companies could top expectations.

Also, the Commerce Department reported that computer orders rose, contributing to an increase in durable-goods orders for February over the January numbers.

Some analysts have recently expressed concern about weaker demand and prices for hard disk drives. But Brean analyst Ananda Baruah said the environment for the hard drive makers was stable — shipments seemed in line with expectations, and the mix of products sold was "feeling a bit better."

The analyst said in a note to clients that Western Digital could report earnings of $1.88 per share and Seagate could make $1.20 to $1.25 per share in the March quarter, the fiscal third quarter for both companies.

The consensus of analysts surveyed by FactSet is that Western Digital will earn $1.77 per share, excluding one-time items, and Seagate will earn $1.17 per share.

The companies make components for computers and other electronics devices.

Western Digital shares rose $1.38, or 2.9 percent, to close at $48.66. Seagate was up $1.16, or 3.3 percent, to close at $35.88.