Watch Apple's event today Musk on deadly Tesla crash Venmo OKs cryptocurrencies COVID travel warning Google Doodle for Luther Vandross Child tax credit's monthly check

Downgrades, disappointing earnings bite STAR Telecom

STAR Telecommunications fell 7/16, or 5 percent, to 8 3/8 Thursday, one day after it missed analysts' estimates in its first quarter. It was also downgraded by a pair of brokerage firms.

On Wednesday, STAR reported a loss of $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.

ING Barings and Bear Stearns both cut the stock Thursday from "buy" recommendations to "hold."

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.