(Reuters) - Network equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc. on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter net loss because of a number of one-time charges and the extended drop-off in capital spending by Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers. 

The company, which last month slashed its earnings and revenue outlook for the quarter, reported a net loss of $5.1 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with net income of $62.2 million, or 18 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue fell nearly 49 percent to $151 million. 

Excluding charges, Juniper reported earnings of $15.9 million, or 5 cents per share, down from $84.6 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Analysts had been looking for Juniper, the No. 2 maker of Internet gear behind Cisco Systems Inc., to report earnings before charges of 4 to 8 cents per share, with a mean forecast of 5 cents, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call. Ahead of its Dec. 20 profit warning, analysts had expected 10 cents. 

Juniper in its fourth quarter recorded its third straight quarterly net loss. 

Network equipment makers last year were hit hard as telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers cut capital spending to combat a glut of equipment inventory and in response to the weak economy. 

``The question is how quickly Juniper can recover,'' said Erik Suppiger, an analyst with Pacific Growth Equities. 

``Visibility is relatively poor, but on the other hand, they have a couple new products coming out in the March quarter that may generate some incremental revenues. We expect things to be flat to up as we go into the first quarter. I would be surprised if they set expectations for a decline in the first quarter,'' he said. 

Juniper shares closed on Tuesday at $17.96, down 14 cents, or less than 1 percent. The shares, which lost 85 percent of their value in 2001, have gained 102 percent from their all-time low of $8.90 on Sept. 27, 2000.