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JDS Uniphase: Bad News All Around

Shares of JDS Uniphase were down more than 8 percent in early Friday trading, after the fiber-optic concern reported widened losses, falling sales and a longer-than-anticipated overall downturn in the telecom sector.

Just after 10:30 AM ET today, JDS Uniphase shares were off $0.67 or 8.5 percent at $7.22 per share.

Sales in the company's second fiscal quarter fell to $286 million from $925 million in the year-ago quarter.

JDS Uniphase also said its net loss totaled $2.1 billion or $1.60 a share, a more-than twofold increase from the loss of $895.4 million or $0.93 per share in the same quarter a year ago.

JDSU's pro-forma losses -- the figure Wall Streets look at to provide estimates on a company's health -- came in at $0.19 a share. Analysts had expected the company to report a $0.02 loss, according to figures from Thomson Financial/First Call. Company officials said in a release, though, that those analysts aren't taking into account the money it spent on tax deferrals and its "Global Realignment Program."

JDS Uniphase did not provide a number that included those costs, however.

Analysts quoted in various news stories were not sure if the company actually fell short of estimates. Some thought JDS Uniphase did "disappoint the Street," while others said they would crunch the figures again.

JDS Uniphase's income statement will not be looking up anytime soon, officials also said. They expect March quarter sales to be "approximately ten to fifteen per cent below the December quarter."

"Recent changes to its sales forecasts have caused the company to be uncertain that the March quarter will represent the low point in sales for the current downturn, although it continues to believe that recovery from the low point is expected initially to be modest," officials also said in a statement issued after Thursday's market close.

JDSU also said that it cut another 2,100 jobs in the quarter, and would not rule out other reductions in headcount. At the beginning of 2001, JDSU had 29,000 employees on its payroll; currently, it has 11,000 workers.

Even with all of this, "Our commitment to being the leading provider of optical components and modules remains unshaken despite the depth of the current downturn in the telecommunications industry," said Jozef Straus, JDSU co-chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO). "JDS Uniphase can lead the industry and continue to achieve the potential for fiber-optic communications."