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NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) – Computer products distributor Tech Data Corp. posted a better-than-expected 39 percent rise in quarterly profit Tuesday on stronger worldwide sales and improvement in gross margins.

Net income for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 rose to $50.2 million, or 92 cents a share, from $36.1 million, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, profit was 96 cents a share. On that basis, analysts’ average forecast was 88 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $6.48 billion. Wall Street had expected $6.46 billion.

Net sales in the Americas climbed 8.4 percent, while European net sales increased 4.2 percent.

The company said it expects first-quarter sales of $5.65 billion to $5.8 billion. Analysts expect $5.71 billion.

"As we proceed into fiscal 2009, the economic environment remains an important consideration, but we remain cautiously optimistic," Chief Executive Robert Dutkowsky said in a statement.

(Reporting by Franklin Paul; editing by John Wallace)

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