Online financial publisher Marketwatch.com ( MKWT) slid Thursday after the company trimmed third-quarter earnings guidance and said a new method of booking a royalty expense resulted in a restatement.

The San Francisco-based company reported a second quarter that slightly exceeded Wall Street estimates, with revenue rising 81% to $20.2 million and the bottom line showing a profit of $1.4 million, or 5 cents a share. MarketWatch lost $127,000, or 1 cent a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 3 cents a share on revenue of $20.3 million in the 2004 quarter.

But the company said the cost of launching an online news service with Thomson Financial would cut third-quarter earnings to break-even, on revenue of about $19 million to $20 million. Wall Street had been expecting earnings of 4 cents a share on revenue of $20.1 million. Marketwatch.com put full-year earnings at 15 cents a share on revenue of $81 million to $83 million, both in line with the consensus forecast.

The company also disclosed Thursday that it adopted a new accounting treatment under which it will reallocate the cost of a royalty it pays to CBS for use of its trademark. The step widened the previously reported first-quarter adjusted loss to $591,000 from $325,000, although the company said the net impact will be a wash over the full year, as the second half will see a commensurately lower expense.

The stock ended Thursday at $9.25, down 70 cents, or 7%.

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