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Open Market hit by earnings news

Shares of the company plummet more than 30 percent after it announces preliminary financial results that are below expectations.

Shares of Open Market plummeted as much as 31 percent today after the company announced preliminary financial results for its third quarter were below expectations, due to revenue shortfalls in Asia.

The provider of application software products and professional services said net revenue for the third quarter ending September 30, based on a preliminary analysis, will be between $14 million and $15 million, below what the company had planned. Open Market anticipates that the loss per share will be in the range of 20 cents to 17 cents, well below Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of a projected loss of 7 cents per share, according to research firm First Call.

Open Market stock closed down 28.36 percent or 2.38 points, at 6, 2 points lower than its previous 52-week low. The stock has traded as high as 29.13 and as low as 8 during the past 52 weeks.

The company pointed to two principal factors that adversely affected business in the quarter. Revenue was less than expected for sales of Open Market's Folio products to corporate customers and through the reseller channel. The company also experienced a shortfall in revenue from Japan and the rest of Asia.

"Despite this setback, I am more convinced than ever that the market for Internet commerce software and services will be enormous and that Open Market is very well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity," Open Market's president and CEO Gary Eichhorn said in a statement

Open Market is scheduled to release final financial results for its third quarter on October 22, 1998.

The company provides high-performance application software products and professional services to help its customers engage in business-to-consumer and business-to-business Internet commerce and commercial publishing.

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