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) -- Shares of

World Wrestling Entertainment


fell in after-hours action on Friday after the Stamford, Conn.-based company said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to come in well below Wall Street's current expectations.

After the closing bell, World Wrestling forecast a profit of 8 to 10 cents a share for the three months ended Dec. 31. The current average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

is for earnings of 16 cents a share in the December period on revenue of $121.8 million.

The company didn't provide much detail on how it arrived at its projection, saying it won't be able to discuss "individual aspects of its financial results" until both it and its independent auditors have completed their review of its financial statements for the year.

The stock was last quoted at $12.60, down 6.7%, on volume of around 15,000, according to

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. The issue's trailing three-month daily average volume is just under 270,000, although it exceeded that by almost 60% with Friday's churn of 430,000.

Based on a regular session close at $13.50, the shares had fallen almost 15% in the past 52 weeks and were nearly 30% below their 52-week high of $18.95 set in late April.

Of the seven analysts covering the stock, four were at hold, two were at buy and one was at strong buy ahead of the news. The median 12-month price target was more bullish, however, at $18, implying potential upside of 33% from Friday's close.

World Wrestling said it expects to issue its quarterly report before the opening bell on Feb. 10. The company has surprised Wall Street by a wide margin with its last two quarterly reports, beating expectations by more than 60% with its third-quarter profit of 19 cents a share, but missing the average analyst view by more than 40% with earnings of 8 cents a share in its second quarter ended in June.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Michael Baron


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