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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nortel Runs The Reverse (NT)

Nortel put out another set of dizzying financials today. Revenue rose 17% to $2.96 billion. The company's loss fell slightly to $99 million. As usual, the company cannot put out a clear set of numbers. The report had "a gain of $43 million related to changes to its North American employee benefit plans; a gain of $16 million on asset sales; shareholder litigation expenses of $38 million; and restructuring charges of $25 million".

The company also said it would do a 10-for-1 reverse split. These actions always look weak. They are a sign that the company cannot get the stock price up on its own. It also takes a company off its regular spot on the "most actives" list because its trades about 20 million shares a day on the NYSE. It will be lucky to trade 2 million now. Stupid marketing and investor relations move.

The argument for the reverse split is that institutions will often not buy stocks that are under $5. Until Nortel stops losing money, Big Money is not going to look at it anyway. But, hope springs eternal.

Nortel's stock is down 2% on these two pieces of news, trading at $2.25, fairly near its 52-week low. It's a "pick em" to decide which announcement is pushing it down more.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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