It seems odd to issue a press release on a Saturday, when hardly anybody's paying attention, but SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) did just that over the weekend. The supplier of flash memory reminded investors that the fourth quarter's looking good; likewise, that 2003 revenues are expected to exceed prior expectations of $950 million. They'll come in at more than $1 billion.

That may sound like raised guidance, but it's not. In fact, management had already raised its 2003 revenue outlook to exceed $1 billion in October. What is new is that the company continues to see high bookings for products, and that retail promotions were "well received" over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Perhaps not incidentally, the weekend communiqué followed a bout of stock-price weakness. SanDisk closed down nearly 6% on Friday to $64.35 and remains well off its recent highs of around $80 per share. In fact, the stock's been a rollercoaster despite a booming flash storage market.

Just as surely, the popularity of consumer gadgetry is undeniable -- everything from digital cameras, MP3 players, PDAs, and cell phones are driving a burgeoning market for memory. So, why the ups and downs? It's hard to tell, but there are a few possibilities.

First and foremost is the stock's charge upward over the course of the year. Things also got a bit strange in mid-November when SanDisk announced an $18.3 million charge related to the theft of shares of United Microelectronics by a former employee of its law firm in Taiwan. That employee is now a fugitive -- how's that for corporate drama?

Last week, SanDisk and Toshiba announced plans to build a production line based on 300-millimeter wafers as part of the companies' FlashVision joint venture. So far, SanDisk's share of the costs is undisclosed, though the production line will increase total capacity from previous conjectures and the total investment is now expected to be 200 billion yen, up from 150 billion yen previously anticipated.

(In its latest 10-Q, SanDisk disclosed the possibility of substantial financial commitments connected to the joint venture over the next two to three years, including the possibility it would pursue outside financing.)

Either way, with demand for memory products hot, this sounds like a solid investment for SanDisk as it strives to meet demand -- as long as the market for consumer electronics doesn't dry up. But by the same token, just as Saturday's update reminds us that things appear good, these is a lot to consider when shopping for shares of SanDisk.

Is SanDisk going to be a flash in the pan, or are current prices a buy? Discuss with other Fools on the SanDisk discussion board. Alyce Lomax welcomes your feedback at