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Sterling Commerce sees losses, shares slip

Sterling Commerce Inc. (NYSE: SE) warned Wednesday it expects third quarter earnings to be between 38 to 39 cents a share, below First Call estimates of 41 cents a share.

Shares in the Dallas, Texas-based maker of e-commerce software closed at 35 3/4 Tuesday, down from a 52-week high of 48. It was down 7 3/4 to 28 in initial trading Wednesday.

The earnings would still be an increase over the 33 cents a share earned in the same quarter of 1998, and revenue is expected to be in the range of $152 million to $153 million. The company met analysts expectations in the second quarter, and got a boost from analysts and investors as a result.

Third quarter results were affected by delays in closing several large transactions, lower than expected growth for some products, and difficulty integrating the company's XcelleNet acquisition, according to a company release.

``We are also experiencing a slowdown in product sales growth as a result of Y2K," said Warner C. Blow, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Commerce, Inc.

First Call was expecting profits of $1.69 a share for the year. The company will report actual results for the quarter by early August.