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TheStreet.com warns of disappointing sales in third quarter

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TheStreet.com said late Tuesday it will report disappointing sales in its third quarter but it still expects to meet analysts' loss estimates in the quarter.

TheStreet.com (Nasdaq: TSCM) shares closed up 9 cents to $6.13 ahead of the warning.

Company officials said the online financial news site will still become cash flow positive by the second half of 2001 and that it still holds more than $88 million in cash reserves.

"From a revenue standpoint, this is a disappointing quarter for TheStreet.com," said CEO Tom Clarke in a prepared release. "Unfortunately, our projections didn't account for the slower-than-anticipated implementation of our news distribution deals, and the impact of seasonality on advertising sales. These factors hampered our aggressive plans for page view and revenue growth."

A survey of analysts by First Call Corp. predict TheStreet.com will lose 37 cents a share in its third quarter and $1.68 a share in the fiscal year.

Last quarter, it topped analysts' estimates when it posted a loss of $13.1 million, or 52 cents a share, on sales of $7 million.

In the quarter, it recorded 2.9 million average monthly users for its US sites, and 130,000 per month at its UK site. Average monthly number of page views at the company's US and UK sites was 42 million, up from the year-ago figure of 15 million.

Advertising and e-commerce revenue for the quarter was $4.6 million, up from $1.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

TheStreet.com shares peaked at $22.25 in October before falling to a 52-week low of $4.25 in August.

Six of the seven analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."