Analysts, Investors Punish Lucent After Latest Profit Warning - TheStreet

The attack dogs, sensing the wounded, are feasting.

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

is getting hammered in the morning after the company's earnings warning yesterday and several downgrades from analysts earlier today.

At last gasp, the stock was reeling, down $9.50 to $21.88, 30% loss, and it's lately trading at its lowest levels since February 1998. It was easily the most active on the

New York Stock Exchange, with 29.6 million shares traded.

Analysts have taken a blunt object to Lucent after the company cut its growth outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter. The company said lower-than-expected optical sales and declining sales in your garden-variety telephone circuit-switching equipment were responsible for the expected shortfall.

In a note, analysts at

W. R. Hambrecht

point out that the loss of market share in fiber optics to leading names like

Nortel

(NT)

,

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

and

Sycamore Networks

(SCMR)

are hurting Lucent. (Not that the market is differentiating between anything this morning -- those stocks are getting creamed also.)

And since technology is moving away from traditional switching, other analysts are hardly optimistic.

The roll call goes like this:

ABN Amro

cut the company to hold from outperform;

Credit Suisse First Boston

dropped it to buy from strong buy; and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

cut it to outperform from strong buy.

Merrill Lynch

and

PaineWebber

cut earnings estimates but left its rating alone;

Lehman Brothers

maintained its neutral rating, but resignedly said it expects another downward adjustment to guidance when the company reports results Oct. 24.

Earnings for the fourth quarter are expected to come in around 17 cents to 18 cents a share, lower than the 27-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate.