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Hard disk maker Seagate's fourth-quarter shipments slip

(Reuters) - Hard disk drive maker Seagate Technology Plc reported slightly better-than-expected quarterly results, but shipments dropped 18 percent from a year earlier.

The company's shares were down 5 percent at $42.99 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

Seagate and rival Western Digital Corp are working to reduce their dependence on personal computer hard drives as consumers increasingly shift to smartphones and tablets by tapping into the growing demand for products that help customers store data in the cloud.

Global shipments of personal computers slumped 10.9 percent in the quarter ended June — the fifth straight quarterly decline in a market devastated by the popularity of tablets — research firm Gartner said earlier this month.

However, analysts expected demand for hybrid and solid-state drives (SSDs), combined with attractive pricing, to help Seagate's results in its fourth quarter.

The company shipped 53.9 million units in the quarter, down from 65.9 million a year earlier.

Net income fell to $348 million, or 94 cents per share, from $1.01 billion, or $2.37 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.20 per share.

Revenue for the company, which dominates the hard drive market along with Western Digital, fell to $3.43 billion from $4.5 billion a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected earnings of $1.19 per share on revenue of $3.42 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Seagate shares, which have risen 24 percent in the last six months and are currently trading at all-time highs, closed at $45.31 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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