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Nortel hurdles 3Q estimates

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE: NT) soared past analysts' estimates in its third quarter Tuesday, earning $380 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $5.39 billion.

Its shares closed off 1 5/16 to 55 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected it to earn 26 cents a share in the quarter.

The $5.39 billion in sales represents a 30 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $236 million, or 21 cents a share.

Including a variety of one-time charges and acquisition costs, Nortel earned $1 million in the quarter.

"We are extremely pleased with our strong growth in the quarter," said CEO John Roth in a prepared release. "The strong demand for our optical, wireless, high-speed-access and new Internet Protocol offerings further confirmed our leadership in creating a high-performance Internet."

Nortel shares moved up to a 52-week high of 59 3/8 earlier this month after falling to a low of 16 7/8 last October.

Twenty-six of the 29 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.>