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Barnesandnoble.com stock hits 52-week low

Shares of the Internet bookseller drop to a 52-week low after the company announces second-quarter earnings that fall short of Wall Street's expectations.

    Shares of Internet bookseller Barnesandnoble.com dropped to a 52-week low today after the company announced second-quarter earnings yesterday that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

    A series of analysts followed Barnesandnoble.com's earnings announcement by lowering their outlook for the shares. In midday trading, the shares were off 81 cents, or 16 percent, at $4.06.

    Barnesandnoble.com said second-quarter losses more than doubled to $45.4 million, or 31 cents per share, from $22 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial predicted the company would lose 18 cents per share. Sales jumped 77 percent to $67.4 million from $38.2 million.

    Barnesandnoble.com is not the only e-tailer whose shares have slipped sharply. Amazon.com hit a 52-week low last week after the company reported that revenue growth stagnated in the second quarter. Amazon also announced last week that Joseph Galli, president and chief operating officer, resigned to become the CEO of VerticalNet

    Following Barnesandnoble.com's earnings announcement, Prudential Securities analyst Mark Rowen downgraded the shares to "hold" from "accumulate"; Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto cut his rating to "market perform" from "market outperform"; and Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget lowered his revenue and earnings-per-share estimates.

    "Barnesandnoble.com had a weak second quarter, missing our estimates for all key metrics: revenue, customer count and (earnings per share)," Blodget wrote. "As with all other e-tailers, we do not have a good sense of how fast B&N.com will be able to grow over the long term and how much it will cost to get there."

    Barnesandnoble.com added about 700,000 new customers during the second quarter, raising its customer count to 5.5 million. Merrill Lynch expected the company to add 850,000 customers.