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Verizon Says Fourth-Quarter Results to Meet Or Beat Expectations

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Verizon Communications

(VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report

said Monday it expects to meet or exceed fourth-quarter and full-year 2000 projections, citing confidence in its data, digital subscriber line, long-distance and wireless businesses "even in the face of an economic downturn."

Analysts on average are expecting the New York-based company to post fourth-quarter earnings of 78 cents a share and full-year 2000 earnings of $2.91 a share.

Verizon, formed from the merger of

Bell Atlantic

and

GTE

, also reaffirmed previous expectations for 2001 and 2002. On Dec. 19th, the company announced it expects 2001 earnings per share to grow by 8% over the previous year's earnings, in the range of $3.13 to $3.17 a share. For 2002, it sees earnings per share growth of about 12%, in the range of $3.49 to $3.54 a share. First Call analysts expect $3.14 a share in 2001, and $3.51 a share in 2002.

The company also said today it expects capital spending to total $18.5 billion in 2001, up from $18 billion in 2000.

Verizon also said it ended the year with an estimated 540,000 subscribers to its high-speed DSL Internet service, "substantially exceeding" its year-end target of 500,000 customers. Last week, the company's wireless unit, a joint venture with U.K.-based

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Vodafone

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, announced

strong Christmas sales that added about 1.2 million new customers in the quarter, bringing the total to 27.5 million wireless customers.

Verizon will announce its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results for 2000 on Feb. 1.

Shares of Verizon lately rose 13 cents, or 0.23%, to $54.25 in afternoon trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

. Vodafone tumbled $1.63, or 4.5%, to $34.25 Monday following an

announcement by Hong Kong's

Hutchison Whampoa

that it would divest part of its stake in Vodafone.