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Pandora forecasts loss, shares plunge

December 4, 2012: 4:58 PM ET

Shares of Pandora plunged late Tuesday after the Internet radio service issued a disappointing outlook for sales and earnings.

Pandora's stock (P) fell as much as 20% in after hours trading.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company said it earned 5 cents per share, excluding charges, in its most recent quarter. That beat analysts' expectations. Sales rose 60% to $120 million, which was better than expected.

But the guidance Pandora offered for losses in the current quarter and fiscal year caught many Wall Street analysts by surprise.

Pandora said it expects a net loss of between 6 and 9 cents per share in its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with an expected 1 cent per share profit.

For the full-year, Pandora expects to loose between 9 and 12 cents per share, while revenue is expected to range between $422 million and $425 million. Analysts were looking for a full-year loss of 6 cents per share on sales of $429 million.

Pandora stock has been volatile this year. After hitting a high above $14 in March, the stock has struggled break above $12 a share. It sank to a low of $7.18 in early November but has since regained ground, closing at $9.45 a share on Tuesday, before the results were released. Investors have been nervous about the possibility that Apple (AAPL) could enter the online radio market. Pandora also faces tough competition from rival Spotify as well as concerns about royalty payments to musicians.

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Ben Rooney
Ben Rooney
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Ben Rooney is a staff writer for CNNMoney. He covers the European debt crisis and other international finance stories, in addition to writing about stocks, bonds, investing and other Wall Street-related news. Follow Ben on Twitter: @ben_rooney

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