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CNet slides past 3Q forecasts

    CNet (Nasdaq: CNET) beat the analyst consensus forecast by a penny in the third quarter.

    After market close Thursday, the online technology news provider reported a third quarter pro forma net loss of $23.1 million, or 32 cents per share, excluding goodwill writedowns and one-time charges. First Call's survey of 13 analysts predicted a loss of 33 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

    During the third quarter, CNet saw a $98 million profit from stock sales. Including goodwill amortization, equity losses, and investment gains, CNet earned $29.3 million, or 35 cents per share.

    Third quarter revenue increased to $28.4 million, a 93 percent gain year-over-year. CNet's profit decreased in the third quarter because of a $25 million boost in marketing expenses related to an expanded advertising campaign announced in July.

    CNet's core online business saw revenue more than double to $26.8 million in the third quarter, compared to $12.9 million in the year-earlier period. The company credited improved results from its ads for boosting revenue; CNet shopping services saw its leads generated for merchants increase to 153,000 daily from 126,000 a day in the second quarter.

    The company also restated first quarter results. The company now says that $1.2 million that had previously been classified as one-time charges should have been accounted for as expenses. With the adjustment, CNet officially earned 29 cents per share in the first quarter, rather than the 30 cents reported before.

    Shares of CNet increased 3 1/16 to 53 9/16 in Thursday's regular trading prior to the earnings report. Among 13 Wall Street firms surveyed by Zack's Investment Research, six have the equivalent of "moderate buy" ratings on CNet, five recommend is a "strong buy", and two maintain "hold" ratings on the stock.>