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met Wall Street's expectations for the latest fourth quarter, but warned that the bottom line in the upcoming period would fall short of analysts' projections, in part because of the soft advertising market.

For the fourth quarter, before a one-time gain and the effect of accounting changes, the company earned 50 cents a share, in line with the consensus estimate from analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company earned 49 cents a share in the year-ago period.

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Operating revenue for the quarter rose 5.8% to $1.09 billion from $1.03 billion a year ago.

The company, which publishes educational materials and owns financial information and services provider

Standard & Poor's

, said it expects "double-digit earnings growth" in 2001. McGraw-Hill said the seasonality of its earnings will change in 2001 because of recent acquisitions in the education market and accounting changes. The first quarter will become less of a factor in future full-year results, while the third quarter will become a bigger contributor.

The company projected earnings of 5 cents to 8 cents a share for the first quarter, while two analysts polled by First Call expect a profit of 21 cents.

McGraw-Hill earned $2.40 a share for 2000, and analysts expect the company to earn $2.72 in 2001.