This Report Will Speak Volumes About Optical Networking

Optical networking specialist Infinera (NAS: INFN) skids into Wednesday's first-quarter report on a banana peel. Share prices have hardly moved over the last week, last three months, or full year. But it's hardly a smooth ride -- Infinera jumped as much as 7% on Friday only to give it all back in early Monday action.

Investors seem nervous about Infinera's future and about high-speed networking in general. Will this report calm some nerves or raise more questions?

Analysts aren't looking for any miracles here. The average Wall Street estimate calls for a $0.12 net loss per share on $106 million in sales. A year ago, Infinera reported a $0.04 loss per share on revenue of $93 million.

Of course, the Street doesn't always nail Infinera's numbers. Three months ago, shares surged on a stellar report with much higher sales and smaller net losses than predicted. CEO Tom Fallon said that the fat revenues came from market share gains at the expense of rivals Oclaro (NAS: OCLR) , Tellabs (NAS: TLAB) , and Juniper Networks (NAS: JNPR) .

Keep an eye on Juniper's report on Tuesday for clues to Infinera's performance. Keep in mind that Juniper complained about a soft market last quarter even as Infinera prospered. Tellabs steps up to the plate on Thursday morning and Oclaro will likely post results next week, so they're not much help for Infinera investors this time.

So Infinera becomes a weather vane this time, setting the tone for later networking reports. But don't panic if Infinera comes up short this time. The vane only shows you the current weather -- it's obvious that the networking climate calls for many years of strong growth for high-speed experts like Infinera. Today's long-haul data networks won't cut it much longer. There's just too much business data and digital entertainment bouncing around.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him onTwitterandGoogle+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Infinera.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Infinera. 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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