TMP Worldwide

(TMPW)

surprised Wall Street on Tuesday as it beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates on strong growth.

The recruitment advertising agency and owner of the

Monster.com

Web site said its adjusted earnings per share were 35 cents, up 250% over the 10 cents a share posted in the year-ago period. Adjusted income totaled $38 million, up from $9.38 million in the equivalent period last year. Fifteen analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were expecting earnings of 31 cents for the quarter.

Total commissions and fees for the company increased to $351.9 million in the quarter, up from the $243.2 million in the fourth quarter of 1999.

The company said it had $572.1 million in cash at year's end.

"Despite concerns of an economic recession and a slowdown in the labor markets . . . we remain positive about achieving our goals for commissions and fees and earnings growth for 2001," the company said in a statement.

TMP said it remains "comfortable" with previous estimates and said it expects adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.38 to $1.42 for the year. A 15-analyst consensus compiled by First Call is for earnings of $1.40 for the year.

TMP said earnings should be 14 cents to 15 cents for the first quarter, and 30 cents to 31 cents in the second quarter, in line with analysts' estimates.

Forecasted earnings of 46 cents to 47 cents for the third quarter, and 48 cents to 49 cents for the fourth quarter also were in line with analysts' forecasts.

Shares of TMP fell $2.44, or 4.7%, to $49.50 in regular session

Nasdaq

trading. After-hours on

Island

, shares were recently trading at $51.06.