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Nokia Falls as CEO Warns of 'Challenging' 2021

Nokia topped quarterly estimates, but the stock is off because of disappointing guidance for 2021.
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Nokia undefined shares were lower after the telecom-equipment provider reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter results but warned of a challenging year ahead.

"We expect 2021 to be challenging, a year of transition, with meaningful headwinds due to market-share loss and price erosion in North America," Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark told Reuters.

Nokia, Espoo, Finland, said it lost a part of the Verizon  (VZ)  5G buildout contract in the U.S. to Samsung Electronics. 

The company's report comes amid the trading frenzy prompted by participants on the subreddit WallStreetBets.

Last week, Nokia said it saw no material reason for the 17% spike in its shares after day traders who were on Reddit decided to collectively drive up the stock. 

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"Nokia is not aware of any material, undisclosed corporate developments or material change in its business or affairs that has not been publicly disclosed that would account for the recent increase in the market price or trading volume of its shares," a statement from the company said. 

The networking technology maker reported fourth-quarter revenue of 6.57 billion euros ($7.87 billion), a 5% decline from a year earlier but still ahead of the consensus estimate of 6.42 billion euros. 

Earnings fell to 0.14 euro a share but topped the consensus estimate of 0.11 euro. 

Nokia plans to make further investments in 5G research and development in 2021, which will result in "some short-term" contraction in profit margin. 

Sales in 2021 are expected to be between 20.6 billion euros and 21.8 billion euros, with the midpoint of that range -- 21.2 billion -- missing the analyst consensus for 21.5 billion euros, according to Bloomberg.

Nokia American depositary receipts at last check fell 5.3% to $4.45.