Hearst-Argyle Net Is Flat

It guides full-year sales in line.
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Television station group



shares rose 1% Tuesday after the company repored flat first-quarter earnings.

The New York company made $13 million, or 14 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That compares to $13.1 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 7% to $174 million. The latest quarter's EPS were cut by 1 cent by stock-options expense.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn 15 cents a share on $173.6 million in revenue.

"Our results for the first quarter are generally in line with our expectations, and give us a good start for the year," said Chief Executive David Barrett. "Despite a downturn in automotive advertising, total revenues increased 7%, and we are encouraged that nine of our top 12 advertising categories grew over the prior-year period. Total-first quarter revenues of $174.0 million are a record high for the period."

Chief Financial Officer Harry Hawks provided full-year guidance. "Consistent with prior guidance, we remain on track to generate total revenue this year in the range of $756.0 to $777.0 million, with growth driven by $50 to $60 million of political revenue; additional digital media net revenue, which primarily includes local Web and multicasting advertising; and substantially higher retransmission revenue. Expenses are expected to remain generally in line with prior guidance," Hawks said.

Wall Street analysts were looking for sales of $772 million this year.

On Tuesday morning shares were up 23 cents to $23.03.