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CenturyLink cautions on growth in 2nd half

MONROE, La. (AP) -- CenturyLink Inc.'s net income climbed in the second quarter, but the phone company on Wednesday cut its sales outlook for the year on lower-than-expected growth.

CenturyLink's net income rose to $269 million, or 44 cents per share, in the April-June period, from $74 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same months last year. Excluding severance, acquisition and other one-time costs, the company said it earned 69 cents per share. Revenue fell 2 percent, to $4.53 billion from $4.61 billion.

Analysts were expecting net income of 67 cents per share and $4.53 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Revenue from CenturyLink's "strategic" division, which includes Internet, private networks and data transmission, rose 4 percent to $2.16 billion. Revenue in the division housing its traditional phone, data and network service fell 7 percent to $1.95 billion.

CenturyLink said its revenue from its Internet, private network and data transmission businesses should improve in the second half of the year, but growth will be slightly lower than it originally expected.

Shares lost $1.04, or 2.9 percent, to $35.35 in aftermarket trading. The stock has shed 7 percent this year, closing Wednesday up 21 cents to $36.39.

For the year, CenturyLink narrowed its profit outlook slightly, to $2.63 to $2.73 per share, excluding one-time items, and cut its revenue outlook to $18.05 billion to $18.2 billion, down from a May prediction of $18.1 billion to $18.3 billion.

Analysts forecast $2.74 per share and $18.12 billion in revenue.

For the current quarter, Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink expects earnings of 59 to 64 cents per share and that revenue will be between $4.5 billion and $4.55 billion. Analysts predicted 65 cents per share and $4.52 billion.