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Cendant Trims Guidance

The comments come after the company's spinoff plan fails to draw rave reviews.
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posted a disappointing third quarter and trimmed full-year guidance.

The move came at the end of an eventful day for the New York real estate and leisure conglomerate. Earlier Monday, Cendant said it would split in four next year in an effort to unlock the value of its separate businesses, which range from the Century 21 real estate operation to the Avis rental car outfit and the Orbitz travel site. Investors, unimpressed by the company's plans and getting wind of the earnings shortfall through press reports, knocked Cendant down 7% to a 52-week low.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Cendant said earnings from continuing operations dropped to $468 million, or 44 cents a share, from the year-ago $497 million, or 47 cents a share. Revenue rose 12% from a year ago to $5.05 billion.

Cendant also said that based on trends in its consumer-oriented travel businesses, fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from core operating segments (excluding restructuring charges) should rise just 14%, against the previous 25% guidance. The company trimmed its earnings target to 23-26 cents a share from the previous 26-30 cents.

"Several of our leisure travel units began to show signs of slowing growth during the third quarter," CEO Ron Nelson said. "Although some of what we experienced can be directly attributed to the impact of terrorism, devastating hurricanes and higher gasoline prices, we also began to feel the impact of, among other things, the slowdown in the rate of growth currently affecting all online travel businesses, as well as the ongoing channel shift to supplier sites, demand weakness in certain key markets in the global distribution business, and continued economic weakness in Europe."

After sliding $1.32 to $18.77 in regular action Monday, Cendant shares added 18 cents in postclose trading to $18.95.