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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Sun Microsystems Inc. posted fourth-quarter earnings of $20 million Thursday, returning to profitability even as it continued to struggle with the lingering economic downturn.

For the period ended June 30, Sun earned $20 million, or 1 cent a share, compared with a loss of $88 million, or 3 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding a loss on equity investments and other adjustments, the company earned $28 million in the fourth quarter, or a penny per share.

Revenues were $3.4 billion, down 16.8 percent from $4 billion reported a year ago.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 1 cent a share on sales of $3.3 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial/First Call.

``We stated a goal of reporting a profit this quarter and we achieved that goal,'' said Scott McNealy, Sun's chief executive.

After strong growth during the high-tech boom, Sun was hit hard as large companies reduced spending and dot-coms shut down.

For the full 2002 fiscal year, Sun reported sales of $12.5 billion, down 32 percent from the record high revenues of $18.3 billion in fiscal 2001.

In fiscal 2002, Sun lost $628 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with a profit of $927 million, or 27 cents a share in fiscal 2001.

Shares of Sun gained 12 cents to $5.80 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, but lost 5 cents in the extended session.

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