July 28, 2016 / 11:05 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 5-Thomson Reuters misses on revenue, reaffirms outlook

(Adds analyst comment, details from analyst conference call, updates shares)

By Jessica Toonkel

July 28 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp’s revenue missed Wall Street expectations on Thursday, pushing down the stock more than 2 percent, but the news and information company reaffirmed its full-year sales outlook.

Total second-quarter revenue was unchanged from a year earlier at $2.77 billion before currency, but fell 1 percent when currency changes were factored in. Analysts, on average, estimated $2.83 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Chief Executive Jim Smith acknowledged that uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the European Union poses challenges for many big clients, but he said it also provides an opportunity for Thomson Reuters.

“There is no question that we are anticipating there will be continued pressure on headcount in the European banking sector, including the UK, and that will put pressure on the terminals business,” Smith told Reuters. “Regardless of how this shakes out, we think we are well-positioned with people on the ground in every relevant market.”

Net earnings were $350 million, or 45 cents per share, versus $281 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago.

Adjusted for special items, earnings of 50 cents per share were 1 cent above estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Thomson Reuters, the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg LP and News Corp’s Dow Jones.

Shares fell over 2 percent in both New York and Toronto in afternoon trading.

‘CAUTIOUS’ CLIENTS

Despite client concerns about Brexit’s implications, Thomson Reuters reaffirmed its forecast of positive organic revenue growth for the year.

“A lot of clients are preparing for multiple eventualities but being cautious,” Smith said in an interview.

In the Financial & Risk division, which provides news and analytics to financial services companies, sales outpaced cancellations for the ninth straight quarter. Overall unit revenue, however, fell 2 percent to $1.52 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Stephane Bello told analysts the drop was due to temporary factors that will subside in the second half of 2016.

Just under 40 percent of Financial & Risk’s revenue is from Europe, about half of that from the UK, Bello said.

Brexit could pose a hurdle just as Financial & Risk has hit its stride in terms of continued net sales growth, said Doug Arthur, an analyst at Huber Research Partners.

“Here is a company that is trying to turning around its biggest division and they are on the right path,” he said.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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