Advertising company Harte-Hanks ( HHS) said its earnings for third-quarter 2006 fell 4% from a year ago.

The San Antonio-based company earned $27.66 million, or 35 cents a share, for the latest quarter, compared with $28.83 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting 36 cents a share for the quarter.

Third-quarter revenue rose 4.6% to $294.7 million vs. analysts' expectations of $296.13 million.

Operating income for the third quarter was down 8.2% at $44.61 million.

Direct marketing revenue in the quarter was up 3.1% at $174.1 million. Shoppers revenue grew 6.8% to $120.6 million.

"At the very end of the quarter, we completed our previously announced acquisition of the Aberdeen Group, and we are excited about the prospects for this niche acquisition. We also recently divested of a print operation of similar size that had become increasingly less important to the solutions we offer our direct marketing customers," the company said.

Harte-Hanks paid a regular cash dividend of 6 cents a share on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 6.

The board of directors increased the company's share repurchase authorization during the quarter by 6 million shares. During the third quarter, Harte-Hanks purchased 2.7 million shares of its common stock bringing the year-to-date repurchase total to 5.1 million shares. There are about 7.3 million shares remaining from repurchase authorizations at Sept. 30.

Harte-Hanks entered into a five-year $200 million term loan facility and may draw on this facility anytime until Sept. 2007.

Shares of the company were trading down $1.14, or 4.14%, at $26.40 Thursday.

This story was created through a joint venture between TheStreet.com and IRIS.

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