Bankrate Warning Brings New All-Time Lows... Bank-Hate

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Bankrate, Inc. (NYSE: RATE) might as well have just changed its name to Bank-Hate. The personal finance content company guided revenues and earnings lower and shares are well below a prior 52-week low now.

The company said that revenue for its fiscal third quarter will be between $115.5 million and $117.5 million. The company referred to the third quarter of 2011 being $112.9 million in the third quarter of 2011, and it noted that this was an increase of approximately 3% at the midpoint of the range. Unfortunately, Thomson Reuters had estimates all the way up at $132.74 million and the range was $127.2 million to $139.1 million.

Earnings will now only be $0.11 to $0.13 per share for the third quarter as far as the adjusted earnings per share are concerned. That figure was $0.18 EPS a year ago and Thomson Reuters was calling for earnings of $0.20 EPS.

Bankrate has tried to claim that it has been aggressive about cutting back its insurance lead volume and has seen meaningful improvements in quality and conversion. The claim is that Bankrate believes it will see better monetization in 2013. Unfortunately, it also said that credit card traffic remains strong but it has not seen change or improvement in the approvals. The company even went on to note that adjusted EBITDA would be $28.5 to $30 million in the third quarter, down from $36.0 million a year ago.

Shares were already weak before today's news bomb. Bankrate stock closed down 1.1% at $14.50 and it hit a low today of $13.93, and the prior 52-week range was $14.62 to $25.95. Be advised that the all-time low for Bankrate was $13.38 seen in August of 2011 a couple of months after its IPO.

That prior all-time low is going to look pretty good if the after-hours trading indication remains as is. Bankrate shares are trading down 24% at $10.62 after this news.

JON C. OGG

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