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F5 Networks stock drops on warning

The Internet software maker drops 19 percent after it says it will miss first-quarter numbers because of the slowdown in Internet infrastructure spending.

F5 Networks dropped 19 percent Thursday after the company said it will miss first-quarter numbers because of the slowdown in Internet infrastructure spending.

Shares of the Internet software maker fell $2.63 to $11.13 by market close. Earlier, shares hit a 52-week low of $9.50.

The company said that it 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.

Company executives said they would provide revised guidance for fiscal 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 chief executive John McAdam, the company's performance was influenced by a slowdown in purchasing of infrastructure-related equipment due to the rapid softening of market conditions in North America.