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MEMC Jumps on Bullish Fourth-Quarter Outlook

MEMC Electronic Materials shares surged after a Soleil Securities Group analyst said the company, which supplies wafers to the semiconductor industry, could benefit from improved pricing and increased sales.

Analyst Paul Leming of Princeton Tech Research lifted his earnings estimates for the company and said MEMC may see improved wafer pricing in the fourth quarter.

"The two key drivers of higher estimates in the current quarter are higher average selling prices in the semiconductor wafer business and increased polysilicon volumes for sale, as the company ramps the first increment of its polysilicon capacity expansion program.

Leming estimates the company could sell an additional 100 metric tons of polysilicon in the spot market in the fourth quarter and lifted his fourth-quarter earnings estimate to 57 cents a share, up from a previous estimate for 53 cents a share.

He also lifted his 2007 earnings estimate to $2.43 a share from $2.34 a share; and raised 2008 earnings to $3.04 a share from $2.92 a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial on average expect the company to post fourth-quarter profit of 59 cents a share.

For 2007, analysts forecast earnings of $2.53 a share. In 2008 they expect an average of $2.99 a share.