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Juniper's profit soars on higher telecom carrier spending

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Network gear maker Juniper Networks Inc posted a better-than-expected 59 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher spending by U.S. telecom carriers.

The intensifying competition among U.S. telecom companies have been a boon for network equipment makers.

In the past two weeks, Juniper's peers Riverbed Technology Inc and F5 Networks Inc have forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates.

However, Juniper's first-quarter revenue forecast was in-line with analysts' expectations.

The company's shares rose as much as 3 percent in trading after the bell, before tempering the gains to trade flat with its closing price of $26.01 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Juniper forecast first-quarter adjusted profit of 27 cents to 30 cents on revenue of $1.12 billion to $1.16 billion.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 29 cents per share and revenue of $1.14 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income rose to $151.8 million, or 30 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $95.7 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $1.27 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned 43 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 37 cents per share on revenue of $1.22 billion.

Juniper's strong quarterly results also comes at a time when shareholder Elliott Management has urged it to cut costs, buy back shares and consider slimming down to focus on its core business of making routers and switches for carriers such as Verizon and AT&T Inc.

The hedge fund said Juniper's stock was undervalued, a argument similar to the one it made in the case of Riverbed, before offering to buy the company.