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After insisting for months that its robust forecasts could withstand the U.S. economic slide, Nortel Networks has slashed its 2001 profit forecast by two-thirds and now plans to cut 10,000 jobs this year.

Shares fell as much as 34 percent in early trading after the biggest maker of fiber-optic equipment made the forecast. The stock dropped $10.25 to $19.50 in early trading today. That erased about $32.3 billion in market value.

The profit warning after the stock market closed Thursday threatened to douse the flickers of confidence investors have shown for technology shares this week.

Those stocks have been hammered over the past month amid similar announcements from other major technology companies such as Cisco Systems saying business conditions are turning even weaker than expected in the United States.

Corning cuts sales projection

CORNING (Bloomberg) -- Corning Inc., the No. 1 maker of optical fiber and cable for telecommunications networks, today pared its forecast for sales of fiber-optic components and said it may cut more jobs, sending the shares down as much as 18 percent.

Corning shares fell $6.61 to $35.40 in early trading. They had fallen 29 percent in the past year.

Corning expects its sales of lasers, amplifiers and other components to rise 50 percent from a year earlier, down from its previous forecast of 75 percent to 90 percent, the company said in a statement. Corning said it will cut costs to offset the lower demand and may reduce its workforce further.

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