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StarMedia jumps on strong 4Q results

    StarMedia Network Inc. (Nasdaq: STRM) shot up 5 3/4, or 14 percent, to 46 7/8 Tuesday after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter.

    In the quarter, StarMedia lost $27.8 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $9 million.

    First Call consensus pegged the Internet portal for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences to lose 50 cents a share in the quarter.

    In the quarter, StarMedia recorded 1.7 billion page views, up 900 percent from the year-ago period and up 42 percent from the third quarter.

    "Once again, StarMedia has reported tremendous revenue and traffic growth, a testament to our superior product offering and user loyalty," said CEO Fernando Espuelas in a prepared release. "The critical mass that we have achieved is what allows us to continue to grow our user base, attract both advertisers and partners, and fortify our stronghold in the Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking markets."

    The $9 million in sales marks a 176 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $23.6 million, or 53 cents a share, on sales of $3.3 million.

    For the year, it lost $90.7 million, or $1.36 a share, on sales of $20.1 million compared to a loss of $46 million, or $1.06 a share, on sales of $5.8 million in fiscal 1998.

    Its active advertising customers increased to 479, up 941 percent from the fourth quarter of 1998.

    Last quarter, StarMedia lost $24.6 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $5.6 million.

    Its shares moved up to an all-time high of 70 in June before falling to a low of 24 in December.

    All nine analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."