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SBC lowers 2001 expectations

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) said Tuesday that it expects earnings growth in 2001 and fourth quarter earnings per share to be at the lower end of expectations.

Shares of the communications provider fell 12 percent in early trading Tuesday.

The company sees earnings per share (EPS) growth in fiscal 2001 of 11 percent to 14 percent, falling short of analysts' predictions of 14.5 percent. First Call had expected SBC to earn $2.60 a share in 2001, up from an expected $2.27 a share in 2000.

Revenue growth in fiscal 2001 will now be between 8 percent and 9 percent, the company says. The First Call estimate called for revenue growth of more than 10 percent.

According to the company's CEO, the slowing national economy, regulatory processes and delay in digital subscriber line (DSL) deployment would all affect SBC's business in fiscal 2001.

Despite the outlook for 2001, the company confirmed its fourth quarter 2000 targets and expects earnings, before charges, of between 56 cents and 58 cents, almost in line with the Street's consensus of 58 cents a share.