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Lycos hurdles 4Q forecasts

Lycos topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Tuesday, earning $13 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $88 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet portal to earn 8 cents a share in the quarter.

Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS) shares closed off 9/16 to 57 15/16 ahead of the earnings report.

The $88 million in sales marks an 89 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $3.3 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $46.4 million.

"This was an exceptional year for the company, with this most recent period marking the 18th consecutive quarter during which we met or exceeded consensus estimates," said CEO Bob Davis in a prepared release. "The continued momentum resulting from both our network model and unsurpassed global platform, with operations now in an industry-leading 28 countries, positions us strongly in the race for worldwide leadership."

In the fiscal year, Lycos posted a profit of $21.7 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $291 million, a 110 percent jump from fiscal 1999 when it lost $8.4 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $138.5 million.

In May, Lycos announced it would merge with Terra Networks (Nasdaq: TRRA) in a $12.5 billion stock deal.

In its last quarter as an independent company, Lycos recorded an average of 201 million page views a day in July, up 36 percent from the third quarter.

Its registered user base improved 17 percent to 61 million.

Last quarter, Lycos beat the Street estimates, earning $7.9 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $78.6 million.

Ten of the 15 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

The stock moved as high as 93 5/8 in December before falling to a 52-week low of 34 1/8 in April.

First Call Corp. consensus projects Lycos will earn 57 cents a share in fiscal 2001.