New York Times

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said it expects first-quarter earnings to be largely in line with analysts' expectations despite depressed revenue due to the war in Iraq.

Additionally, the company said full-year 2003 earnings could be further hampered by the war.

Shares of the company were recently down 1.03%, or 46 cents, to $44.34.

The company said it will earn between 42 cents and 45 cents a share, compared with 39 cents a share in the previous-year quarter, excluding items. Analysts expected 43 cents a share, on average.

"While advertising revenues for the quarter were in line with our expectations through the first two weeks of March, we have recently seen a weakening as a result of the war, particularly in travel-related categories such as airlines and hotels," the company said.

The Times also said the EPS growth rate is expected to be in the mid-single digits to low double-digits. The company is not changing its full-year earnings guidance, but said results for 2003 would be hurt by a prolonged conflict in Iraq. Analysts expect EPS of $2.18 for 2003.