Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. surged 3% in light premarket trade Tuesday, after the company reported first-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations. Earnings for the latest quarter rose to $13.9 million, or 18 cents a share, from $9.8 million, or 13 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 10 cents. Revenue slipped 3% to $171.1 million from $176.2 million, given the impact of the timing of WrestleMania, but beat expectations of $169.8 million. Media division revenue increased 5% and consumer products revenue rose 10%, but live events revenue declined 36%, as WrestleMania occurred in the second quarter, compared to the first quarter of last year. Average paid subscribers grew 39% to 1.29 million, and the company expects second-quarter average paid subscribers to be about 1.5 million. The stock had declined 4.4% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.7%.
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