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Excite@Home slides 11 percent after 1Q report

Shares of Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) slid Thursday after the company said losses would widen this year.

The broadband ISP and Web portal operator saw its stock down 2 3/8 to 17 9/16 in early afternoon trading, on a negative trend for the overall Nasdaq. On Wednesday, the company reported first quarter earnings per share below First Call's consensus estimate and said it expects an operating loss ranging between 25 cents and 30 cents per share this year.

First Call consensus previously predicted a profit of 10 cents per share in 2000.

Higher spending for overseas expansion will drive operating results into the red, the company said.

Although Excite@Home's international drive is "logical", the stock remains surrounded by uncertainty, said Henry Blodget, analyst with Merrill Lynch.

"It is difficult to have faith in this latest permutation, given the number of changes and confusion surrounding the company over the last year," Blodget wrote in a research note released this morning.

First quarter results were mixed in Blodget's view. Although the company's subscriber growth of 350,000 sequentially was higher than his expectation, earnings per share were two cents per share below the consensus forecast. Excite@Home's cost of revenues and sales and market were higher than many analysts expected.

"We do not see any positive catalysts for the stock," Blodget wrote.

Last quarter, Excite@Home met analysts' estimates, earning $514,000 on sales of $128.8 million.

Excite@Home officials set a target of 3 million residential broadband subscribers by year's end as well as a total sales goal of $2 billion by 2002.

• THE DAY AHEAD: Excite@Home trades profits for marketing, it's just so 1999
• Excite@Home meets 4Q estimates>