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24/7 Media&#039s 4Q loss smaller than expected

24/7 Media topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Wednesday, posting a loss of $7.5 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $37.1 million.

First Call consensus expected 24/7 (Nasdaq: TFSM) to lose 72 cents a share.

Its shares closed up 1 5/8 to 55 1/8 ahead of the earnings report.

The $37.1 million in sales marks a 275 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it posted a loss of $4.8 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $9.9 million.

For the fiscal year, 24/7 lost $24.9 million, or $1.25 a share, on sales of $90 million compared to a loss of $14.7 million, or $1.44 a share, on sales of $20.9 million in fiscal 1998.

Company officials said its network sales improved 45 percent sequentially to $31.7 million.

Its total ad impressions delivered soared to 10.7 billion, including 3.9 billion impressions in December.

According to Media Metrix, the 24/7 Media networks reached 57.9 percent of all U.S. Internet users, and 37.6 million unique users visited one or more of the company's Web sites in December 1999.

"1999 was an amazing year for 24/7 Media," said CEO David Moore in a prepared release. "And all of the great strides that we made are just beginning to be reflected in our financial results."

24/7 shares moved up to a 52-week high of 69 5/8 in January after bottoming out at 21 3/4 in August.

Thirteen of the 14 analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy.">