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MarketWatch MarketPulseFeb 20, 2019
Equifax disappoints with earnings and forecast as it spends on tech and security
Equifax Inc. fourth-quarter earnings dropped 85% from the year before as the company continues to spend to bolster its security and technology after a devastating hack, and the company's forecast for 2019 came in below expectations in an earnings report delivered Wednesday afternoon. Equifax reported net income of $25.6 million, or 21 cents a share, down from $1.42 a share a year ago, on revenue of $835.3 million, down from $839 million a year ago. After stripping out all costs for "the 2017 cybersecurity incident," as Equifax refers to it, as well as a host of other factors, the company claimed earnings of $1.38 a share, down just a penny a share from last year's fourth quarter. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of $1.32 a share on revenue of $840 million. Equifax projected 2019 adjusted earnings of $5.60 a share to $5.80 a share, after totaling $5.79 by that metric in 2018, on revenue of $3.43 billion to $3.53 billion, which would be a gain from $3.36 billion in 2018. Analysts on average were projecting 2019 adjusted earnings of $5.86 a share on revenue of $3.53 billion, according to FactSet. "Our incremental investment of over $1.25 billion to transform our technology and security between 2018 and 2020 will position Equifax for future growth and profitability and improve our speed of delivering new products to our customers," Chief Executive Mark Begor said in Wednesday's announcement. Equifax shares fell about 2% in very light trading during the extended session following the report Wednesday afternoon. The stock has declined 6.4% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index has gained 2.3%

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