Q4 results lift Qwest shares

Shares of US carrier Qwest Communications jumped after the telecom carrier's fourth-quarter results and guidance for flat to slightly lower revenue in 2008 met Wall Street's expectations, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the company had posted a 89% jump in its quarterly profit, boosted by sales of internet and data offerings that offset access line losses.

Banc of America Securities analyst David W. Barden, who rates Qwest 'Buy,' called the results a solid setup for 2008. He noted that the company's free cash flow of $640 million was above his estimate of $604 million, the Associated Press report said.

Net DSL subscriber additions were 95,000, compared with his estimate of 101,000 and reflecting the maturing nature of broadband.

The report added that Citi Investment Research analyst Michael Rollins, who has a 'Hold' rating on the stock, called Qwest's revenue contribution from businesses 'encouraging.'

Sales to small and large businesses were better than the analyst had expected.

He said the quarter's results were 'not as bad as some had feared,' but there might still be some worries about Qwest achieving current analyst expectations.

The report also quoted Thomas Weisel Partners analyst James D. Breen, who rates Qwest 'Underweight,' as saying that like other regional Bells, the company continues to feel revenue pressure from growing competition, line losses and pricing pressures.

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