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Ciena Sees Tech as a Growth Driver

Ciena chief Gary Smith remains optimistic about tech's fundamentals.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Tech looks healthy from

Ciena's

(CIEN) - Get Ciena Corporation Report

viewpoint.

The optical networking specialist posted a narrower-than-expected adjusted loss and tempered its outlook for the October quarter, calling for 5% sequential sales growth, which was about half the growth rate analysts were looking for.

But investors weren't discouraged. Ciena shares jumped 6% to $14.21 in mid-morning trading Wednesday.

Ciena Corp. headquarters

Ciena chief Gary Smith said he remains optimistic about the tech spending but prefers to call it a "cautious optimism."

The weak economy dampens the overall mood, but should that improve, Smith expects some positive momentum and does not see much of a chance for another downturn.

"The underlying dynamics and demands for new technology are too positive for that to happen," said Smith. "But we aren't immune to the macro environment."

"It's naïve to expect us to pop back up," said Smith of the broader economy after the 2008 crash. "It will take longer to come back."

Ciena sells networking gear to telcos and other capacity-hungry businesses like financial services that operate high frequency trading systems. Ciena's gear peers include

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Smith also said he was pleased with the integrating of Nortel's metro Ethernet business. In the most recent quarter -- ended in July -- that represents the first full quarter of combined operations, Smith said: "We have been managing operating expenses well."

But Smith, who was criticized for making taking on the Nortel integration nightmare, said he's nowhere near ready to take a victory bow. "There's a lot more work to do."

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/TheStreet_Tech.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.