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Belo issues in-line forecast



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SAN FRANCISCO (AFX) -- Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Belo Corp. issued a fourth-quarter outlook that was in line with most analyst estimates on Tuesday.

During presentations at the annual UBS and CS First Boston Media Week conferences, Belo said it expects a profit in the range of 33-35 cents a share. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was 35 cents.

At the newspaper group, fourth-quarter ad revenue is expected to be better by a mid-single digit percentage than the same quarter a year ago, while television group revenue is expected to decline by a high-single digit percentage.

The flagship Dallas Morning News, which is emerging from a circulation inflation scandal, is expected to post ad revenue that is better than the year-earlier quarter by a mid-single digit percentage.

The TV outlook is an improvement over the company's previous forecast of a low-double-digit decline.

For the full year 2006, Belo expects consolidated earnings from operations to grow by a high-single digit percentage.

Belo shares declined slightly, trading recently at $21.40, down 12 cents.

Google

At the UBS gathering, Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's vice president of product management, declined comment on Tuesday's Wall Street Journal report that AOL and Microsoft could team up on an online ad service that would rival Google. Currently, Google is AOL's primary provider of Internet search functionality.

"AOL is obviously one of our largest and long-time partners," Rosenberg said.

Asked what the search giant plans to do with its cash on hand, Rosenberg implied that the company has significant international expansion plans. "I think the thing that often is missed is that more than half of our clicks come from outside the U.S.," he said.

The "predictability" of the model Google has used successfully in the U.S. and Canada points to great opportunity, Rosenberg added.

Google remains in a major hiring phase following the addition of 800 employees last quarter, the executive said. The company's ability to find and retain "the best engineers available" is one of the things that will allow it to maintain a competitive advantage, Rosenberg asserted.

Google shares were up as much as 2%, trading recently at $406.15, after Pacific Crest Securities lifted its price target to $500 from $400. This story was supplied by MarketWatch. For further information see

Copyright 2005 AFX News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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