Stock Watch: [email protected] Slips as Q3 Loss Widens

[email protected] (Nasdaq: ATHM) slipped 1/2 to 9 5/8 Wednesday after the company reported a wider loss for the third quarter.

While the results were in line with expectations, reports of a weaker fourth quarter and downgrades by two securities firms sent the shares lower.

The Redwood City, California-based provider of broadband and narrowband Internet services said pro forma revenue for the quarter rose 51 percent from a year earlier to $169.9 million. The loss before charges totaled $41.6 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $4.2 million, or one cent, in the same period last year.

The company said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to grow at a “low double-digit rate,” with a loss before charges of 8 to 10 cents per share. Analysts had reportedly expected a 6 cent loss for the quarter.

ABN Amro reportedly downgraded the stock to hold from outperform, while Chase H&Q was said to have cut it to market perform from buy.

[email protected] said its residential broadband subscriber base grew 28 percent during the quarter to 2.31 million. “We are observing unprecedented levels of interest in and awareness of broadband services, and we are moving aggressively to capitalize on these trends,” said chairman and chief executive officer George Bell.

“Our network build-out and our cable partners’ plant upgrades have made excellent progress, as more than half of our North American cable footprint is now upgraded and marketable. This bodes well for our ability to continue to drive subscriber growth going forward,” Bell said.

The company said it expects to add 25 to 30 percent more broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter.

Media traffic on the Excite network averaged 149 million daily page views in September, up 9 percent from June and up 67 percent from September 1999. The company’s Blue Mountain online greeting card subsidiary “maintained its lead” during the quarter, with 69 million e-cards sent.

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