Hearst-Argyle Television ( HTV) missed second-quarter targets Thursday.

The large TV stations group said that it earned $25 million, or 27 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30. That compares with a profit of $65.6 million, or 68 cents a share, last year. Revenue for the quarter rose 3% to $194 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for the company to earn 29 cents a share on $199.6 million in revenue.

The stock lost ground Thursday morning, dropping 26 cents, or 1.4%, to $20.42.

"Our stations generally performed well in the second quarter, growing top-line revenues and advancing our local Web site businesses," said Chief Executive David Barrett. "Overall, most of our stations are tracking ahead of their annual plans in a very satisfactory way, with larger revenue gains expected to occur in the second half of the year when political spending accelerates."

Barrett, however, said that "isolated weaknesses are evident in several markets, reflecting localized conditions, sluggish automotive ad spending, and some pricing pressure at certain NBC stations as a result of that network's weakened prime-time ratings." He said that the quarter's tax expense compared unfavorably to that benefit in last year's quarter.

"We continue to expect that our second-half performance will be strong, and that our full-year results will be generally in line with the annual guidance we provided in February," he said, excluding the acquisition of a second TV station in Orlando.

Looking forward, the company reaffirmed its $756 million to $770 million revenue outlook for the year.