Qwest Dives After Earnings, Outlook

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Shares of

Qwest Communications

(Q)

were down 18.3% to $13.07 after the company posted a third-quarter loss, excluding items, of $138 million, or 8 cents a share, reversing last year's profit of $231 million, or 14 cents a share.

The loss was short of analysts' lowered expectations, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 3 cents. Total revenue for the quarter remained flat at $4.77 billion, while recurring revenue rose 4.5%.

Qwest also said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to rise about 3% from the third quarter while cash earnings will remain flat. Additionally, the company cut its year-end subscriber goal to 1.2 million.

Separately, the company's board extended the employment contract of Chairman and CEO Joseph P. Nacchio through 2005.