NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- 2014 can't end fast enough for Ciena (CIEN) investors. The maker of optical networking equipment that helps businesses manage data traffic reported a $30.7 million loss Thursday in its fiscal fourth quarter.
All told, Ciena is not as bad as it looks. The company's struggles have more to do with industry trends and weak enterprise spending and less to do with its own operational deficits. Still, management must come up with a solution to better diversify the business and risk more share price declines in 2015.
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On a per-share basis, the loss was 29 cents. When adjusted for things like amortization and stock option expenses, the loss was narrower: 8 cents per share, still far below the 13-cent profit analysts were looking for.
It wasn't all bad news, however. Ciena posted fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $591 million, edging past Wall Street estimates of $589.4 million by 0.27%. This was enough to send shares higher 8.9% as of noon Thursday.
The 1.31% year-over-year revenue growth seems like the vote of confidence investors needed. But it comes with a warning too.
Ciena didn't promise great fiscal first-quarter guidance.
For the current quarter ending in January, Ciena expects revenue to be in the range of $540 million to $570 million. Consensus estimates were projecting revenue of $568 million. And with the stock down 29.13% on the year to date, compared with the 9.62% gain in the S&P 500 (SPY) and the 5.77% gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) , investors need more reasons to believe Ciena can turn things around.
While Ciena has struggled this year, its main rivals like Alcatel Lucent (ALU) (down 23.86%) and Juniper Networks (JNPR) (down 5.05%) haven't done any better. In fact, their charts show a noticeable pattern of decline. This is because of heavy competition for corporate infrastructure spending.