Qualcomm's 3Q results in line with estimates

Qualcomm manages results in line with analysts' estimates for the third quarter

Qualcomm posted a third-quarter profit of $218m, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $714m, in line with most analysts' estimates.

First Call consensus predicted the mobile telephone technology firm would earn 27 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Qualcomm shares closed off 2 1/8 to 63.

The $714m in sales represents an 11 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it made $155.7m, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $645m.

"Our profitability continued to improve with an increase of 23 percent earnings per share over the third quarter of last fiscal year and a record $1bn in pro forma earnings before taxes for the first nine months of fiscal 2000," said chief executive Irwin Jacobs in a prepared release.

"Our technology licensing business signed numerous licence agreements during the quarter and we're seeing momentum build in requests for both new licence agreements and 3G extensions by existing licensees."

Last quarter, Qualcomm checked in with a profit of $209m, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $649m.

Its shares have fallen on hard times of late, plunging from a 52-week high of 200 in January to a below $60 a share earlier this quarter.

Qualcomm, which makes chips based on the code division multiple access standard it developed, took some heat earlier this quarter on concerns the South Korean government might cut subsidies for cell phones.

Increasing competition from the likes of Motorola and Ericsson has forced some analysts to lower their estimates and rating on what was clearly last year's best-performing technology stock.

Sixteen of the 20 analysts following the stock still rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call consensus expects Qualcomm to earn $1.05 a share in the fiscal year.

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