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Bankrate at new 52-week low as 4Q disappoints

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Bankrate Inc. slid to a new 52-week low Wednesday as the online publisher of financial data's fourth-quarter results missed analysts' estimates. It also gave a 2013 revenue forecast below Wall Street expectations.

THE SPARK: On Tuesday, Bankrate said it broke even on revenue of $93.2 million. Adjusted earnings were 6 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 11 cents per share on revenue of $106.8 million.

For the year, Bankrate reported earnings of 29 cents per share on revenue of $457.2 million. Adjusted earnings were 56 cents per share.

Looking ahead, the company anticipates 2013 revenue will be "relatively flat" with last year's. Wall Street analysts had predicted full-year revenue of $496.8 million.

THE BIG PICTURE: Bankrate, which went public in June 2011, runs Bankrate.com and other personal finance websites. The company also provides services to personal finance sites such as Yahoo, AOL, CNBC and Bloomberg, licenses editorial content to more than 100 newspapers and provides information to mortgage lenders, credit card issuers and insurance companies.

THE ANALYSIS: Neil Doshi of Citi Investment Research lowered Bankrate to "Neutral" from "Buy" and reduced its price target to $12 from $14.

In a note to clients, the analyst said that the company's fourth-quarter results missed his earnings estimate of 9 cents per share and revenue forecast of $101 million.

While Doshi said he likes Bankrate's long-term prospects because of its scale and management team, he does not see any events coming in the short term that could boost the stock.

Stifel Nicolaus' Jordan Rohan said Bankrate continued to deal with softness in credit cards and lead generation during the quarter.

"Clearly the story has become a show-me story, after a very disappointing year in 2012," the analyst wrote.

Rohan kept a "Hold" rating.

SHARE ACTION: Bankrate's stock tumbled $2.41, or 19.5 percent, to $9.97. The shares dropped to $9.90 earlier in the day, their lowest point since touching $10.01 on Nov. 8. The company went public at $15 per share.