Marvel Entertainment


reported a drop in second-quarter earnings amid lower revenue from Spider-Man-related licensing, but the results topped Wall Street's estimates.

The comic book licensing company said Monday that its profit fell to $16.3 million, or 19 cents a share, from $25.8 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales declined to $84.4 million from $88.1 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call anticipated earnings of 11 cents a share and sales of $80.5 million.

The results were dragged down by a 23% drop in licensing sales, which fell to $33.9 million from $43.9 million a year earlier. Marvel attributed the decline to lower contributions from domestic licensing and its Spider-Man merchandising joint venture with


(SNE) - Get Report


The licensing decline was partially offset by a 20% revenue rise from Marvel's publishing segment and an 8.6% increase in revenue at its toy segment.

Marvel slightly raised its 2006 guidance to reflect lower taxes and share repurchases. The company now sees full-year earnings of 50 cents to 60 cents a share, up from a prior guidance of 46 cents to 57 cents. The company maintained its sales forecast of $320 million to $350 million.

Analysts, on average, anticipate full-year earnings of 54 cents a share and sales of $341 million.