Qwest, on 50% Profit Drop, Cut 1,700 Jobs in Q4

Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q) cut more jobs than expected in the fourth quarter of 2008 as it saw net income fall by nearly 50 percent.

The Denver-based telco released its latest earnings report on Tuesday and, while profit matched analysts’ forecasts, it hit a sobering $185 million, down from $366 million a year earlier.

More than one million wireline customers cut the Qwest cord in the fourth quarter. That, combined with the recession, prompted Qwest to spend less on network upgrades, hold off on stock repurchases and cut more jobs than originally projected. After its third-quarter 2008 earnings came out, Qwest announced 1,200 layoffs. The number actually hit 1,700 in the fourth quarter.

By noon Eastern, Qwest stock had risen 4.75 percent, trading for $3.53.

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