Ciena soars on results, analyst upgrades

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Fiber optic gear maker Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) jumped almost 12 percent Friday on a flood of positive analyst reaction, a day after the company topped estimates for its fourth quarter.

Ciena, up 11.94 to 107.56, yesterday came in with fourth quarter earnings of $41.3 million, or 14 cents a share, excluding one-time items, beating First Call Corp.'s earnings estimate by 2 cents. Sales of $287.6 million also beat expectations.

Revenue growth for the quarter was up 23 percent sequentially, with robust growth seen in the company's optical switching and metropolitan optical networking products and long-haul transport systems.

Ciena also upped its target for 2001, with revenue growth for the year now expected to be in the 75 to 85 percent range.

Analysts cheered the news, with the stock being upgraded and estimates upwardly revised at a number of brokerages.

Analyst Kenneth M. Leon at ABN Amro bumped Ciena up to "buy" from "add," while Daniel A. Morgan at Noble Financial Group raised Ciena to "attractive" from a "neutral" rating.

At William Blair & Co. analyst Robert V Tango Jr. reiterated his "buy" rating and raised his per-share earnings estimates for fiscal year 2001 to 68 cents from 63 cents;fiscal year 2002 to $1.02 from 81 cents; and fiscal year 2003 to $1.26 from 95 cents.

And at Robertson Stephens, analyst Paul Silverstein upped his earnings per share numbers to 73 cents from 70 cents for fiscal year 2001, set EPS for 2002 at $1.26. He reiterated both a price target of $95.75 and a "buy" rating on the stock.