Level 3 Communications Inc. on Wednesday posted fourth-quarter results above Wall Street estimates as it reduced costs.

Its shares rose 14 cents, or 14 percent, to $1.14 in morning trading. The stock has ranged from 57 cents to $4.48 over the past year.

The company said it earned $44 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $91 million in the same quarter last year. The company posted a loss of 3 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of 6 cents per diluted share last year.

The latest quarter included a gain of $78 million from the early extinguishment of debt. That was excluded from the company's results per diluted share.

Revenue fell 4.6 percent to $1.05 billion from $1.07 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Level 3 to post a bigger loss of 8 cents per share on revenue of $1.08 billion.

Level 3 benefited from lower cost of revenue and reduced selling, as well as general and administrative expenses, during the quarter. It attributed the lower revenue to the difficult economy and some usage declines.

For 2009, the company said it expects continued revenue weakness in the near term but said it will reduce capital expenditures. It said adjusted earnings would increase this year.

For 2008, Level 3 said its loss narrowed to $290 million, or 19 cents per share, from $1.11 billion, or 73 cents per share, in 2007. Revenue rose by less than 1 percent to $4.3 billion.

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