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Ciena delivers solid earnings in first quarter

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) met Street estimates in its first quarter Thursday, earning $9.1 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $152.2 million. Its shares closed off 4 1/8 to 113 9/16 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected Ciena to earn 6 cents a share in the quarter.

The $152.2 million in sales marks a 52 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $1.9 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $100.4 million.

Company officials also announced that it had received a "substantial purchase order" for long-distance optical transport equipment from a new undisclosed customer that will result in a substantial jump in shipment during the second quarter.

Ciena said it expects these shipments will contribute materially to its sales and earnings in the second quarter, assuming its able to execute on the order.

During the first quarter, Ciena received orders from 25 optical networking customers, up 64 percent from the 13 clients it services in the year-ago period.

"Demand in all areas of optical networking - from core transport to metropolitan applications to core switching appears strong and growing at both 2.5 and 10 gigabit per second transmission speeds," said CEO Patrick Nettles in a prepared release. "With a network-spanning product line and our world-wide support capabilities, Ciena is uniquely positioned to benefit from current robust market dynamics in the optical networking space."

Last quarter, Ciena exceeded analysts' estimates, earning $4.5 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $141.4 million.

Ciena shares stormed up to a 52-week high of 121 1/2 earlier this month after bottoming out at 16 5/8 in April.

Nineteen of the 20 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

First Call consensus expects it to earn 52 cents a share in the fiscal year.