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Quest Diagnostics says third-quarter profit to miss estimates

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Laboratory tests provider Quest Diagnostics Inc estimated a third-quarter profit below analysts' expectations, citing a fall in the number of tests ordered in the latter part of the quarter.

The company estimated adjusted earnings of $1.02 per share from continuing operations, down from $1.15 per share a year earlier. Analysts were expecting $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quest also estimated revenue of $1.79 billion from continuing operations, marginally below analysts' estimates of $1.84 billion.

"Early in the third quarter, we were encouraged by revenue performance that was in line with our expectations," said Chief Executive Steve Rusckowski. "However, later in the quarter, revenues deteriorated, leading to results that did not meet our expectations."

This will be the fourth profit miss in a row for the company, which has been hurt by a cut in Medicare reimbursements.

The company said it had been under reimbursement pressure all year from government and commercial payers.

Revenue per requisition from the company's core diagnostics business fell 3.3 percent in the quarter, excluding the effect of recent acquisitions.

Quest will report third-quarter results on Oct. 17.