Level 3 Loses Money in Third Quarter, But Less Than Wall Street Forecast

Shares of Level 3 Communications Inc. edged higher on Thursday after the wholesale service provider reported lower-than-expected third-quarter losses.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting Level 3 to lose 11 cents per share on $909.7 million in revenue. But the carrier instead posted losses of 10 cents per share, for a total of $163 million in the red, compared to losses of $169 million a year earlier. Sales fell slightly to $912 million.

Level 3 was able to subvert analysts predictions by cutting costs and improving margins. In all, the companys communications gross margins went up to 60.6 percent from 59 percent in 2009s third quarter.

With our investments in the business in 2010, we have good momentum as we look to 2011,” James Crowe, Level 3s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Among the companys various divisions, wholesale revenue fell from $347 million a year ago to $343 million. Large enterprise and federal sales jumped from $123 million a year ago to $144 million. Mid-market numbers fell from $155 million to $147 million. And core network services increased from $700 million to $707 million.

By about 11:30 a.m. Eastern, Level 3 stock was trading 5.35 percent higher at 99 cents. On Wednesday, at Wall Streets close, Level 3s shares had lost 22 percent of their value since Julys earnings report.

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