Western Wireless misses estimates in 1Q

Western Wireless Corp. (Nasdaq: WWCA) posted a wider-than-expected loss in its first quarter Tuesday, losing $5.2 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $115.8 million.

First Call consensus expected the Bellevue, Wash.-based company to lose 3 cents a share in the quarter.

Western Wireless shares closed up 1 1/16 to 24 7/16 ahead of the earnings report.

"Western Wireless cellular operations are off to a great start in 1999," said CEO John Stanton in a prepared release. continued Stanton. "With record subscriber and revenue growth, Western Wireless continues to be one of the industry leaders."

In the quarter, it grew its cellular subscriber base to 695,000 customers, up 27 percent compared to the year-ago quarter.

In the year-ago quarter, Western Wireless lost $64.1 million, or 84 cents a share, on sales of $90.6 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 47 13/16 in April after falling to a low of 14 1/2 in September.

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