Lucent Technologies

(LU)

said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to be below analysts' expectations, due to market softness and uncertainty in customer spending levels.

The Murray Hill, N.J., maker of communications equipment predicted that revenue for the quarter would decline about 20% to 25% from its third-quarter revenue of $2.95 billion. This suggests fourth-quarter revenue of around $2.21 billion to $2.36 billion, which misses a Thomson Financial/First Call estimate of $2.87 billion.

The company also projected a pro forma net loss from continuing operations of 45 cents a share, compared with analysts' estimates of a loss of 16 cents a share. Last year, the company reported a loss of 28 cents a share on revenue of $4.8 billion.

Lucent said it still aims to return to profitability by the end of fiscal 2003. The company's shares were down 15 cents, or 9%, at $1.49 in recent trading.

Shares of rival telecom-equipment supplier

Nortel Networks

(NT)

were lower as well, trading recently at 98 cents, down 8 cents, or 7%.