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What's Wrong With JDS Uniphase Today?

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JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU  ) is hemorrhaging sales, and needs to find a tourniquet stat.

The maker of optical networking hardware and electronic testing equipment came into this week's third-quarter report with two consecutive quarters of falling revenue at its back. The unfortunate streak continues with a 10.1% year-over-year revenue drop.

That result was nearly 3% below Wall Street estimates, though JDSU did meet earnings targets with $0.11 of non-GAAP net income per share. Share prices fell as much as 6.5% on the revenue miss.

The miss threw fallout across the optical networking sector. Shares of Oclaro (Nasdaq: OCLR  ) and Finisar (Nasdaq: FNSR  ) lost more than 4% on JDSU's news, even though Oclaro recently posted its own quarterly report and Finisar's numbers should turn up near the end of May.

Management pinned the soft sales on new orders bunching up near the end of the quarter. That left JDSU with a lot of last-minute orders on the books, due to ship in the next quarter and therefore not material to the third quarter's revenues. OK, fair enough.

But if that's all, then how come sales guidance for the fourth quarter looks even worse? The guided revenue range from $415 million to $435 million falls far short of Wall Street's estimates, currently pointing to $456 million. And even the analyst target would be a 3% decline from the year-ago quarter. Delayed orders from the third quarter should make the next period look stronger, not weaker.

There's something fishy about these strange numbers. Is JDSU losing market share to smaller competitors like Oclaro and Finisar? Or is the entire networking market taking an unexpected turn for the worse here? There's still no doubt in my mind that high-speed networking has a bright future, but I'm starting to wonder about JDSU's place in that future. Not to worry -- there are plenty of other ways to play the big data and mobile computing trends that are driving the thirst for fatter network pipes.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing naked calls on JDS Uniphase. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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