WebMD Meets Third-Quarter Views Before Big Charge

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said its third-quarter operating loss was in line with expectations before a multibillion-dollar asset writedown.

The company lost $19.5 million, or 5 cents a share, before items in the third quarter compared with a loss of $65.8 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year ago period. The loss matched Wall Street's consensus expectation, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Also included in the company's third-quarter results was a charge of $3.8 billion, or $10.64 a share, related to goodwill impairment.

The Internet health care company attributed the loss to lower revenue in physician and portal services stemming from the Sept. 11 attack and the weakening economy. Revenue for the quarter was $167 million, compared to $151.2 million in the year-ago period.

In the fourth quarter, WebMD said it expects revenue of $170 million to $180 million and earnings per share of 3 cents. The company also said it anticipates positive earnings beginning with the first quarter of 2002. Shares of WebMD fell to $4.26 in aftermarket trading Monday, and are down 63% from their 52-week high of $11.62.