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Atari Tilts on Guidance

Sales jump, and the company's net loss decreases, but the forecast for next quarter disappoints.



slashed its net loss, besting the Street's estimates, but offered a disappointing outlook for the holidays.

For its fiscal second quarter, the video-game software publisher reported Thursday that it lost $16.89 million, or 14 cents a share. That was an improvement on the year-ago period, when the company lost $68.08 million, or 90 cents a share, after a $39.35 million, or 52 cents a share, dividend to parent company Infogrames Entertainment.

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Atari's sales jumped 17.9% to $71.39 million.

Those results were better than expected. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call forecast that the company would lose 19 cents a share in the quarter on $70.18 million in sales. In July, Atari predicted it would lose $19 million, or 16 cents a share, on revenue of $75 million in its second quarter.

But for the second quarter in a row, the company offered worse-than-expected guidance. For its fiscal third quarter, Atari expects to earn $15 million to $20 million, or 12 cents to 17 cents a share, on sales ranging from $160 million to $175 million. Wall Street had predicted profits of 24 cents a share on $189.11 million for the current quarter.

Atari's report came after the bell. The company's stock closed regular trading up 7 cents, or 4.1%, to $1.80; after hours, shares were recently up 3 cents, or 1.7%, to $1.83.