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WebMD: 2008 Ad Market Not Looking So Good; Stock Slammed

This story was written by Joseph Weisenthal.

Thinking online health is defensive in the event of a recession? You may want to think again. WebMD (NSDQ: WBMD) is out with a pre-announcement of its annual outlook that is way down from its previous guidance. The company now expects 2008 net income of $29.5-$37.5 million, compared to a previous range of $36.5 to $46.0 million, as stated in early February. In other words, its high will be around its previously expected low. For revenues, WebMD sees a range of $380-$395 million, down from $395 to $415 million. At least according to their announcement, the shortfall isn't about their own performance, but rather: "(a) recent shift toward shorter term buying commitments in certain of its customers' consumer advertising purchases which the Company believes is driven by increased caution in the current business climate." For the just-ended quarter, the company did not lower guidance.

With the announcement, shares are trading off over 13 percent. Release.

By Joseph Weisenthal

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