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reported fourth-quarter earnings that meet the Street's expectations but were lower than year-ago levels. The company also maintained its earnings estimates for full-year 2001.

The communications titan, whose holdings include the


group, said fourth-quarter earnings after goodwill amortization were $710 million, or 25 cents a share, compared with $1.3 billion, or 44 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Thirteen analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

gave a consensus estimate of 25 cents a share for the quarter.

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Within its consolidated earnings, its WorldCom group reported income, after goodwill amortization, of $585 million, or 20 cents a share in the quarter, down from $897 million, or 31 cents a share, last year. Its long-distance telephone arm, MCI, also posted lower earnings of $125 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with $388 million, or 13 cents share, a year ago.

Fourth-quarter consolidated revenues were $9.6 billion, up from $9.3 billion in the same period of 1999, with Worldcom revenue of $5.9 billion, compared with $5.1 billion, and MCI revenue of $3.8 billion, compared with $4.2 billion in the same period last year.

WorldCom also said its full-year 2001 consolidated cash earnings will be within its previously given range of $1.55 to $1.65 a share. First Call analysts see 2001 earnings of $1.17 a share.

Shares of the company closed at $20.13 in Wednesday trading on the


but recently slid to $19.88 in pre-open


trading Thursday morning.