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STAR Telecommunications comes up short in 1Q

STAR Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: STRX) fell well short of analysts' estimates in its first quarter Wednesday, losing $7.6 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $228.2 million.

First Call consensus expected the Santa Barbara, Calif. company to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

Its shares fell 5/16 to 8 13/16 ahead of the earnings report.

Company officials blamed the first-quarter loss on merger expenses associated with the acquisition of United Digital Network Inc.

Still, it did manage to grow its sales by 67 percent compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $1.3 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $137 million.

STAR Telecommunications shares moved up to a 52-week high of 29 13/16 in June before falling to a low of 7 1/8 in October.

Ten of the 13 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call consensus expects it to earn 38 cents a share in the fiscal year.>