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Bloomsbury Publishing Shares Drop as Company Warns

Shares in Bloomsbury Publishing, the publisher of the Harry Potter books, plunged 27% Tuesday after the company said full-year profit may not meet analysts' forecasts because of weak sales in the pre-Christmas period.

Pretax profit for the year ending Dec. 31 will probably be about 5 million pounds ($9.76 million), the company said in a statement.

In September, Bloomsbury said net profit for the first half rose 3.9% to 2.98 million pounds ($5.6 million) from 2.87 million pounds.

Bloomsbury shares fell to 229.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Delays in sales of reference rights budgeted for 2006 also crimped profit, the company said.

Still, "the board remains confident of a satisfactory outcome for 2007," Bloomsbury said in a statement released after the stock market closed on Monday.