Computer Sciences

(CSC)

said Friday that a flagging economy has forced it to lower earnings forecasts for its fiscal fourth quarter as well as lay off employees.

The information technology services company said it now expects to earn 35 cents to 37 cents a share, drastically lower than the 92 cents a share expected by a dozen analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. In the year-ago quarter, the company earned 84 cents a share.

Executives also said revenue growth for the quarter would rise 11% to 13% over the $2.6 billion posted in the year-ago period, in line with analysts' expectation of $2.9 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.

To combat losses, Computer Services said it will lay off 700 to 900 people by the end of the quarter, and take a related charge of $100 million to $150 million for restructuring.

The company expects revenue to grow between 13% and 15% in the fiscal year ending March 29, 2002, with earnings for the entire year to be between $2.50 and $2.60. The First Call consensus estimate for that period is $3.24 a share.

In pre-open

Instinet

trading, shares of Computer Sciences were off $12.10, or 22.4%, from their Thursday closing price of $54.10.