Sotheby’s reported on Monday a third-quarter loss that narrowed to $17.9 million, or 26 cents a share, from $27.7 million, or 40 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, the adjusted per-share loss came to 26 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of a per-share loss of 27 cents. Revenue rose 46% to $138 million. A bigger-than-expected jump in inventory sales helped offset a surprise decline in agency commissions and fees, which resulted from significantly weaker sales in higher margin categories, such as old master paintings, Asian art and jewelry. The auction house’s stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has dropped 21% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 2%.
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