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Alloy Online tops 4Q estimates

Alloy Online posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter Thursday, losing $4 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $15.7 million.

First Call consensus expected it to lose 30 cents a share this time around.

Alloy (Nasdaq: ALOY) shares closed up 1/2 to 18 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

The $15.7 million easily exceeded most analysts' estimate of around $11 million. It was also a staggering 346 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $1 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $3.5 million.

For the year, it lost $14.3 million, or $1.12 a share, on sales of $31.2 million compared to a loss of $6.4 million, or 75 cents a share, on sales of $10.2 million in fiscal 1999.

"We are very pleased to conclude our first year as a public company with strong financial performance across the board, a leading market position, and ongoing momentum within each of our Generation Y properties," said CEO Matthew Diamond in a prepared release.

Gross profit margins jumped to 58.5 percent, up from 51.1 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Its shares moved up to a high of 23 3/16 in November after falling to a low of 8 3/4 in August.

All seven analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

Analysts are expecting it to lose $1.07 a share in fiscal 2001.