BALTIMORE (AP) ¿ Television broadcasting company Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said Monday its broadcast revenue was better than expected during the last three months of the year, helped by automotive advertising.

The company now expects broadcast revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 to fall about 6.5 percent to $153.8 million. Previously, the company forecast a drop of 11 percent to 12.8 percent, to a range of $143.3 million to $146.3 million.

Shares jumped 35 cents, or 8.7 percent, to $4.38 in morning trading.

Advertising revenue from the auto sector boosted results, as dealers and domestic manufacturers increased spending on ads. The company now expects the auto category to be down 4 percent, from a previous estimate for a decline in the high teen percentage range.

Sinclair also said it agreed with ABC Network to extend affiliation agreements for nine stations for one month while both companies continue to negotiate. The agreements were slated to expire Dec. 31, 2009.

Sinclair, based in Baltimore, will report fourth-quarter results Feb. 17.
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