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AboveNet posts wider-than-expected loss in 4Q

AboveNet Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ABOV) posted a much wider-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter Thursday, losing $12 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $5.7 million.

Its shares closed off 1 59/64 to 35 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected AboveNet to lose 29 cents a share in the quarter.

The $5.7 million in sales represents a 315 percent explosion compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.8 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $1.3 million.

For the fiscal year, AboveNet lost $26.5 million, or $1.60 a share, on sales of $13.9 million. That $13.9 million in sales represents a 306 percent improvement compared to fiscal 1998 when it lost $5.4 million, or $10.34 a share, on sales of $3.4 million.

Its shares raced up to a 52-week high of 75 1/2 in April after trading at a low of 5 3/4 in December.

The stock split 2-for-1 in May.

Three of the four analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.>