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Ciena sneaks past 3Q estimates

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) slipped past Street estimates in its third quarter Thursday, earning $1.5 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $128.8 million.

First Call consensus pegged it for a loss of 1 cent a share in the quarter.

Ciena shares closed off 9/16 to 33 15/16 ahead of the earnings report.

The $128.8 million in sales was slightly lower than the year-ago period when it earned $500,000 on sales of $129.1 million.

However, the third-quarter sales were a 16 percent jump compared to the second quarter when it earned $1.6 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $111.5 million.

The $1.5 million profit excludes $10.8 million in charges Ciena absorbed in the quarter for the acquisition of Omnia Communications Inc.

"Robust demand from a growing worldwide customer base helped drive Ciena's sequential revenue growth this quarter," said CEO Patrick Nettles in a prepared release. "We're pleased to have met our goal of continued gross margin improvement, in part, due to the benefits of product cost-cutting efforts launched last year."

Ciena shares were whistling along at 59 ? last August before Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB) called off a proposed merger between the two companies.

Ciena shares quickly plummeted to a low of 8 1/8 in October.

Twelve of the 20 analysts covering the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

First Call consensus expects it to earn 4 cents a share in the fiscal year.