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Ciena Plunges After Weak Outlook

Shares of the communications-equipment maker slump more than 20%.


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reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that was halved from a year ago, and shares tumbled on a weaker-than-expected sales outlook for the current quarter.

The Linthicum, Md., communications-equipment maker said it had a profit of $11.7 million, or 12 cents a share, falling from $28.3 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding items, Ciena had a profit of 37 cents a share in the quarter. Revenue jumped 24% from a year earlier to $253.2 million, and was up 4.5% sequentially.

Wall Street was expecting a profit of 37 cents a share on revenue of $253.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Looking ahead, Ciena said that fiscal fourth-quarter revenue should fall in a range of $190 million to $210 million, which would equate to fiscal full-year sales of $912.8 million to $932.8 million. Previously, Ciena forecast sales of $990.4 million for the year. Analysts expect the company to report fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $263 million and annual revenue of $987.2 million.

"In addition to existing customer-specific challenges, we have recently begun to experience order delays from many of our Tier One service provider customers, which we attribute to their guarded approach to capital expenditures given the uncertain macroeconomic environment," said CEO Gary Smith in a statement. "While we've seen no project or order cancellations, sales cycles are lengthening and some deployments are slowing."

Shares of Ciena were lately down $3.94, or 22.6%, to $13.49. For the year, the stock has tumbled 60.5%.

Ciena's weak revenue growth comes as competitors









also cope with the challenging business environment.

In a post-earnings call with

, Smith said that despite the reduction in the company's forecast, demand for Ciena's data-centric products remains.

"Traffic growth still continues to grow," Smith said. "You're seeing an increased sensitivity by some of the major carriers around capital expenditures spending. I describe it as increased scrutiny. Everyone is digesting the news around the macro economy, and that's beginning to cause this kind of behavior amongst the Tier One carriers."