Telecommunications equipment maker Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) swung into a profit in the third quarter, from a year-ago loss. The results, announced Wednesday, marked its fourth consecutive profitable quarter.

The company also raised its sales outlook, based on an improving telecommunications market.

The Murray Hill-based company had net income of $387 million, or 8 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30. That compared with a loss of $254 million, or 7 cents a share, last year.

Excluding 4 cents from certain items, the company earned four cents per share in the third quarter, double what analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had anticipated.

Revenue for the April-June quarter was $2.19 billion, up 11.4 percent from the $1.96 billion recorded in the year-ago period..

Lucent recorded $986 million in revenue from wireless network gear, its biggest business, up 4 percent from the previous quarter and 58 percent from a year ago.

Gross margin for the third quarter was 43.2 percent, slightly better than the 42.8 percent in the second quarter and an improvement from the 29.2 percent in the 2003 third quarter.

The company said it now expects revenues to be up in the mid-single digits for the year.

Some analysts say the equipment sector is rebounding after three dismal years, In one boost for that segment, the company last week announced it had received a $5 billion contract from Verizon Wireless to supply equipment, software and services to expand its wireless voice and data network.

For the nine months ending June 30, the company earned $793 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a loss of $869 million, or 32 cents a share in the year-ago period. Lucent posted total revenues of $6.64 billion, up from $6.44 billion in 2003.