Shares of WebMD Corp. tumbled Friday, one day after the online healthcare company reported a 34% jump in third-quarter earnings, but issued a weaker-than-expected forecast for the fourth quarter.
Shares of the Elmwood Park, N.J.-based firm fell as much as 7.6% during midday trading. At 12:35 p.m., they were down 7.1%, to $7.11.
Late Thursday, WebMD reported earnings of $8.2 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with $6.1 million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 19.5%, to $299.6 million.
Furthermore, the company said it expects fourth-quarter after-tax earnings of 6 cents a share, on revenue of between $305 million and $310 million. On average, analysts are forecasting earnings of 13 cents a share on revenue of $317.4 million.
In addition, the company said it will spin off about 10% of its interest in WebMD health business through an initial public offering. It plans on registering the IPO early next year.
Revenue from the WebMD Health unit, which includes its public and private portals, was up 18.8% to $37.0 million for the third quarter compared to $31.2 million for the quarter in 2003. Income for the unit before taxes was $10.0 million compared for the quarter, compared to $8.7 million in the period in the prior year.
A WebMD spokesperson could not be reached for comment at deadline.
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