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Shares in Time Warner (TWX) jumped Wednesday on news that that the media giant beat analysts' forecasts for the fourth quarter by four cents on strong performances in its cable and publishing units.

Time Warner was up 5 1/16, or 6%, to 83 in early trading. (It closed up 8 9/16, or 11%, at 86 1/2.)

For the quarter, the company earned 20 cents per share, or $2.5 billion; analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

projected earnings of 16 cents per share. For 1999, Time Warner earned 39 cents per share, or $7.3 billion, a 64% increase over year-ago figures.

The strong earnings report caps a busy month for Time Warner, the biggest media company in the world. In January, the company negotiated a $150 billion merger with

America Online


. That merger is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Time Warner also negotiated a merger of its music business with


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, a $20 billion deal that would create the world's largest music company.

The primary drivers of the fourth-quarter growth were cable units

Turner Cable Networks

, premium channel



Time Warner Cable

, and magazine unit

Time, Inc

. Time Warner's broadcast network, the youth-oriented

WB Network

, posted its first quarterly profit as well, recording $3 million compared with a year-ago loss of $15 million.