WebMD Swings to Profit

WebMD ( HLTH) popped just before the close after the company said it swung to a fourth-quarter profit on a 12.6% jump in revenue.

The company earned $10.5 million, or 3 cents a share, in the latest quarter compared with a loss of $2.4 million, or 1 cent a share, last year. Revenue was $258.4 million in the latest quarter compared with $229.5 million last year.

The company also reported income before taxes, non-cash, restructuring and other items of $30.4 million, or 9 cents a share, in the latest quarter. This is a profitability metric that is primarily useful because of its comparability to analyst estimates. On that basis, analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics had been forecasting earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $258.2 million.

For all of 2004, the company expects revenue of $1.145 billion and $1.175 billion; analysts had been forecasting $1.16 billion. The company expects net income of $54 million to $60 million for the full year.

Shares finished Thursday up 42 cents, or 4.9%, to $8.94.

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