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The Associated Press November 5, 2010, 2:23PM ET

Sotheby's reports smaller 3Q loss

Auction house Sotheby's late Thursday posted a smaller third-quarter loss as a tax benefit and higher revenue from auctions and dealer sales helped results.

The company reported a net loss of $19.4 million, or 29 cents per share, on $73.1 million revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with a net loss of $57.8 million, or 89 cents per share, on $44.9 million in revenue in the third quarter of last year.

Wall Street on average had expected Sotheby's to report a loss of 42 cents per share on $60.9 million in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Sotheby's said that because of the seasonal nature of the art auction market, third-quarter auction sales have historically represented no more than 10 percent of annual auction sales and the company has typically recorded a loss in the third quarter.

However, results improved, in part due to strong worldwide sales, particularly its July London Old Master Paintings sale, and an increase in dealer activity. Results were also helped by a tax benefit of nearly $19 million in the quarter. In last year's third quarter it paid $10.8 million in taxes.

Sotheby's shares rose 80 cents to $45.52 in Friday afternoon trading and reached a 52-week high of $47.23.

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