Viacom Lowers Full-Year Guidance

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Viacom Inc. revised its full-year revenue and earnings guidance Wednesday, saying the recovery in the local advertising market is not as brisk as it had expected.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Viacom said that while the economic recovery has resulted in a robust national advertising market, "the pace of recovery in local advertising markets going into the fourth quarter is not as rapid as had been anticipated."

Viacom said it now expects mid- to high-single-digit growth in revenues and operating income for the full year, versus its earlier guidance of high-single-digit growth for revenues and double-digit growth for operating income.

In addition, the company now expects to deliver low- to mid-teen growth in net earnings and earnings per share for full-year 2003, versus its earlier guidance of mid-teen growth.

Viacom said it still expects to report record revenue, operating income, net earnings and earnings per share in 2003, as well as strong growth for 2004.

In the statement, the company said it is well-positioned to reap the benefits of an expected improvement in local advertising markets in 2004, driven by an improving economy, political advertising and the Super Bowl on CBS.

Viacom stock fell $1.42 each (3.5%) Wednesday to $38.90 per share.

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