BellSouth ( BLS), the nation's third-largest local telephone company, lowered its guidance for 2002, citing a slowdown in its wireless business, the effect of restructuring charges and overall economic weakness.

The Atlanta-based company said it expects full-year earnings to be in the range of $2.06 to $2.13 a share, a reduction of 7 cents from its previous guidance. Analysts were expecting the company to post a profit of $2.14 a share.

"Continued softness in wireless revenues, a recently announced restructuring charge for Cingular Wireless, and continued weakening of economic indicators in BellSouth's domestic business caused the change in outlook," the company said in a press release.

Cingular, BellSouth's joint venture with Dow component SBC Communications ( SBC), announced last week that it would cut 3,000 jobs, or 7% of its total workforce, in an effort to reduce expenses. Cingular said the cost of the layoffs wouldn't exceed $70 million.

The new guidance is the second time BellSouth has lowered its outlook in recent weeks. In July, the company reduced its full-year earnings estimate to between $2.13 and $2.20 a share from $2.43 a share.

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