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Ahead of the Bell: Boston Beer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Boston Beer's soft full-year earnings performance and rising costs may give investors pause on Thursday. Shares began to dip in after-hours trading.

The Samuel Adams brewer reported late Wednesday that its full-year net income declined to $4.39 per share from $4.81 per share.

While that was at the lower end of the company's forecast, it still met with Wall Street expectations, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet.

Rising costs for essential materials like barley and hops cut into profits, however, and though the company was able to raise prices, investors seemed to focus more on costs, given the current willingness of consumers to trade down.

Gross margin for the year fell to 54.3 percent from 55.5 percent.

The stock declined more than 2 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Boston Beer earned $16.9 million, or $1.25 per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 29. That's down from $17.8 million, or $1.33 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $165.5 million from $153.9 million.

Wall Street forecast earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $152.5 million.

For fiscal 2013, Boston Beer Co. anticipates earnings in a range of $4.70 and $5.10 per share.

Analysts predict earnings of $4.91 per share.