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Nortel Backs Fourth-Quarter, First-Quarter EPS Estimates

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, whose stock was hammered after the company reported third-quarter earnings, said Monday after the market closed that it expects revenue and earnings per share from operations to grow in the low-40% range in 2000 compared with the previous year.

The networking company said it was "very confident" in its previously stated guidance of fourth-quarter earnings from operations of 26 cents a share and revenue of $8.5 billion to $8.8 billion. Overall, the company expects continued strong growth in optical, wireless and local Internet and e-business products.

Analysts expect Nortel to earn 26 cents a share in the fourth quarter and 74 cents a share for the year. Analysts expect fourth-quarter revenue of $8.62 billion and revenue for the year of $30.16 billion.

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Nortel continues to expect optical Internet revenue in 2000 to grow more than 125% over 1999 and exceed $10 billion.

For 2001, the company expects the overall market to grow in excess of 20% and added that "we continue to expect to grow significantly faster than the market," with anticipated growth in revenue and earnings per share from operations in the 30% to 35% range.

For the first quarter, Nortel expects earnings from operations of 16 cents a share, which would be in line with estimates, and revenue of $8.1 billion to $8.3 billion.

First Call/Thomson Financial

carries an estimate of $8.35 billion for the first quarter, but that figure is based on only one analyst.