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IDT misses estimates in third quarter

    IDT fell short of analysts' estimates in its third quarter Wednesday, posting a loss of $4.5 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $256.1 million.

    Ahead of the earnings report, IDT (Nasdaq: IDTC) shares closed off 1 1/16 to 28 3/16.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged IDT for a profit of 8 cents a share in the quarter.

    Including gains made from investments, IDT pocketed $129.6 million, or $3.41 a share, in the quarter. Those investments are mainly related to the conversion of its interest in two joint ventures with Terra Networks (Nasdaq: TRRA).

    The $256.1 million in sales marks a 40 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $2.7 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $183.4 million.

    "This was in many respects a landmark quarter for the company," said CEO Howard Jonas in a prepared release. "Beyond the significant short-term benefits that the AT&T and Liberty Media transactions will bring to our shareholders, the opportunity to partner with these leading telecommunications and media companies will allow us to both grow our core business and develop exciting, new venture businesses over the long term."

    Earlier this quarter, AT&T (NYSE: T) and its partners announced they would acquire a 39 percent voting stake in Internet telephony firm Net2Phone (Nasdaq: NTOP).

    Prior to the AT&T deal, IDT was Net2Phone's controlling shareholder.

    This marks the second consecutive quarter that IDT has missed analysts' estimates.

    Last quarter, it posted a profit of $1.5 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $271.5 million.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 45 in March after falling to a low of 13 1/2 in August.

    Both analysts following the stock rate it a "strong buy."

    Analysts are expecting it to earn 28 cents a share in the quarter.


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