Coinstar Plunges on Forecast Cut

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Coinstar ( CSTR) continues to plunge after the company cut its guidance for the remainder of the year.

Shares are tumbling 25.5% to $42.45 in Friday morning trading, after falling more than 30% in after-hours activity on Thursday. Shares were temporarily halted Thursday evening to allow investors to "digest the information," according to a company spokesperson. Digest they did.

Coinstar, which operates Redbox DVD kiosks, said it now expects fourth-quarter profit in the range of 65 cents to 69 cents a share, from prior outlook of 79 cents to 85 cents.

This comes as its preliminary fourth-quarter increased less than expected, reaching $391 million, compared with a forecast between $415 and $440 million.

It also lowered its 2011 guidance to $2.60 to $3.10 a share, from $3 to $3.50.

"Given the apparent temporary nature of the factors causing the fourth-quarter shortfall, we were surprised that the company also lowered 2011 guidance," Needham analyst Charles Wolf, wrote in a note.

Coinstar attributed its lackluster results to weaker demand from titles scheduled to release during the holiday season. This also marked the first holiday season with 28-day delayed titles. Coinstar also expected higher-price Blu-ray titles to perform better.

"We continue to believe that the kiosk rental model has legs," Wolf wrote. "But consumers are migrating from physical DVD rentals to digital streaming. If this migration accelerates, it could place Redbox kiosks at risk, at least in the longer run."

One of the biggest concerns is that Redbox has yet to reveal a viable strategy for provisding streaming service. "In our opition, designing a profitable route to streaming is the company's number one challange," Wolf continued. "Indeed, we don';t see any path the company can take to get from here to there."

-- Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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