MORRISVILLE, N.C. – Shares in telecom gear maker Tekelec dropped more than 9 percent on Friday after issuing an earnings outlook that disappointed analysts.

Piper Jaffray downgraded Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC) to “market perform” from “outperform” and reduced its target price for the stock to $15 from $19, according to New Ratings. Merriman Curhan Ford cut Tekelec to “neutral” from “buy.”

Also, Oppenheimer lowered Tekelec to “neutral” from “buy.”

Tekelec said it expected earnings of between 35-40 cents per share in 2007. Analysts told Thomson Financial they expected 48 cents per share.

Tekelec shares closed down $1.39, or 9.3 percent, at $13.51 on Friday.