DoubleClick Profit Rises but Disappoints

Internet marketing company DoubleClick (DCLK) Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit on improved sales of its services to place and track online advertising, but its shares fell 4 percent after it forecast first-quarter results at the lower end of analysts' range.

It said net profit rose to $10.6 million, or 8 cents per share, for the fourth quarter, from $3.8 million, or 3 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue increased to $83.5 million from $72.9 million a year ago.

Analysts had expected fourth-quarter earnings per share of 6 cents on revenue of $81.2 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

New York-based DoubleClick said late last year that it would consider selling all or part of its businesses. The company had warned investors about lower earnings for three consecutive quarters, but last month said its ad serving and tracking business was performing better.

While advertisers have been spending up to 30 percent more on the Web to reach consumers, the bulk of growth has benefited search engines, popular Internet sites that sell ad space or agencies that build campaigns rather than the technology firms that serve ads.

The company said it expects first-quarter revenue to range between $70 million and $75 million, and forecast a loss of 1 cent to a profit of 3 cents per share.

Analysts forecast a profit of 2 cents to 4 cents per share and revenue of $73.4 million to $79.6 million.

The company's stock was off 29 cents at $7.80 on Inet after closing at $8.09 a share on Nasdaq.