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F5 Networks hammered on warning

F5 Networks dropped more than 23 percent Thursday after the company said it will miss first quarter numbers due to the slowdown in Internet infrastructure spending.

Shares of Internet software maker lost 3.19 to 10.56.

The company said that it now sees a loss for the quarter, before tax and charges, in the range of 48 cents to 50 cents a share on revenue of between $24 million and $26 million. The new numbers are a huge drop from the 17 cent a share profit called for by First Call Corp.

Company officials also said they would provide revised guidance for fiscal year 2001 at the time of the release of actual first quarter numbers. Current analyst estimates are for a profit of 87 cents a share for the fiscal year.

According to CEO John McAdam, the company’s performance was impacted by a slowdown in purchasing of infrastructure related equipment, due to the rapid softening of market conditions in North America.