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News Corp shares down after profit fall


Shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation have been punished despite the media company posting an expected full-year net profit of $US1.2 billion ($A1.14 billion).

The result is a 55 per cent slide following last year $US2.7 billion ($A2.57 billion) in income.

News Corp's shares had slid by 69 cents, or 3.05 per cent, to $21.92 by 1350 AEST while its non-voting class shares were 82 cents, or 3.64 per cent, down at $21.68.

IG Markets market strategist Chris Weston said he thought investors had been unimpressed with its forecast of moderate earnings growth in the 2013 financial year.

News Corp chief financial officer David DeVoe told analysts that the group expected to grow its operating income "in the high singles to low double-digit range".

Mr Weston said revenue of $US33.7 billion ($A32 billion) compared to $US33.4 billion ($A31.71 billion) for the previous year was also slightly disappointing.

"I think this is a classic case of what we're going to be seeing over the earnings season," Mr Weston told AAP.

"Companies that have done very, very well in the last six months and rallied strongly - News Corp (shares) were up 26 per cent going into the result - need to do something pretty special to justify the outperformance."

The result was hit by a $US3 billion ($A2.85 billion) pre-tax charge, a significant chunk of which was linked to the writedown in value of the group's Australian newspapers.

The writedowns were made as News prepares to split its struggling newspaper businesses from the more profitable TV and movies arm.

The charge forced News to record a fourth quarter loss of $US1.6 billion ($A1.52 billion), compared to a $US683 million ($A649.58 million) profit in the previous corresponding period.

For the year, operating income rose to $US5.4 billion ($A5.14 billion) from $US4.9 billion ($A4.66 billion), driven by stronger earnings at News' cable TV networks and filmed entertainment division, which includes 20th Century Fox.

However, operating income growth was held back by a 30 per cent slump in earnings at News' publishing arm following a drop in advertising revenues in Australia and the closure of the controversial British tabloid The News of the World.

The publishing business was also hit in the final three months of the financial year by another $US57 million ($A54.21 million) charge from the ongoing costs of investigations into the phone hacking scandal at The News of The World.

The annual cost of the investigations to News was $US224 million ($A213.04 million).