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WebMD Soars as Business Improves Quicker Than It Expected

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- WebMD Health Corp., owner of the consumer health-information website, rose the most in almost five years after saying revenue and profit this year will be higher than previously forecast.

WebMD increased 25 percent to $33.82 at the close in New York for its biggest one-day jump since Oct. 20, 2008. The stock of the New York-based company has more than doubled this year.

Revenue in 2013 will increase 3 percent to 7 percent to as much as $505 million, WebMD said today in a statement. The company in May projected revenue of as much as $470 million. Net income will be $3 million to $11 million, compared with a previous forecast of a loss of as much as $13 million.

“Business is improving quicker than we expected, which we attribute to increasing pharma spending and the company’s new selling strategy bearing fruit,” Alexander Draper, an analyst with Raymond James, wrote in a research note today.

Second-quarter net income was about $3 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenue of as much as $125 million, WebMD said, noting the results are preliminary. Analysts had estimated second-quarter sales of $118.8 million, the average of five projections compiled by Bloomberg.

WebMD plans to report final results on July 31.

WebMD’s chief executive officer, Cavan Redmond, stepped down in May after about a year on the job as the company worked to broaden its business and draw more revenue. The company said in December it would fire 250 workers, about 14 percent of its workforce, citing a decline in drug ads. David J. Schlanger is acting as interim CEO.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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