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Verio hurdles 4Q estimates

    Verio topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Wednesday but still posted a loss of $55.2 million, or 71 cents a share, on sales of $73 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 75 cents a share in the quarter.

    Verio (Nasdaq: VRIO) shares closed up 4 15/16 to 80 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, Verio lost $33.7 million, or 51 cents a share, on sales of $37.1 million.

    "Our recent announcements and fourth quarter results demonstrate Verio's continued success in expanding our array of value added products, and partnering with industry leaders to enhance our products and extend our distribution channels," said CEO Justin Jaschke in a prepared release.

    In the quarter, gross profit margins remained flat with the third quarter at 70 percent.

    Company officials said it increased its number of Web sites hosted by more than 40,000, to 340,000. In addition, parked domain names increased by over 40,000 to 210,000.

    Verio shares fell to a 52-week low of 14 1/16 last March before peaking at 84 13/16 in February.

    Twenty-four of the 25 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects it to lose $3.58 a share in fiscal 2000.