Sotheby's Beats Profit And Sales Expectations

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Sotheby's reported Friday a fourth-quarter loss of $11.2 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a profit of $74 million, or $1.06 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as a one-time tax charge for the planned repatriation of foreign earnings, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.19, above the FactSet consensus of $1.05. Revenue fell to $335.8 million from $351.2 million, but beat the FactSet consensus of $331.1 million, helped by a less-than-expected decline in agency commission and fees. "We will likely have one or more difficult quarters as we ride through the current cycle, but we are being careful on guarantees and capital commitments, watching our liquidity carefully, continuing to invest in the people and capabilities that will drive our future success, and taking the opportunity with our excess cash to repurchase shares," said CHief Executive Tad Smith. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has tumbled 45% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has lost 7.5%.

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