CHARLOTTE — LendingTree Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings and revenue below Wall Street expectations on Tuesday, but it raised its revenue estimates for 2019.

The Charlotte-based financial services company reported net income of $300,000, or 2 cents per share, better than a loss of $6.5 million, or 54 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted earnings were $1.22 per share, below analyst expectations of $1.47 per share.

Revenue of $202.7 million in the quarter was 26 percent higher than revenue of $161 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 but below analyst estimates of $208.3 million.

“The strategic diversification of our business over the last several years enabled us to successfully navigate a difficult mortgage environment in 2018 and will continue to be a competitive advantage for us in the years to come,” said CEO Doug Lebda in a statement. “We made great progress on several strategic initiatives including increasing organic traffic through the build-out of My LendingTree.”

LendingTree’s shares fell $14.91, or 4.65 percent, to $305.50 in Tuesday morning trading.

The company saw growth in credit card and personal loans revenue from the 2017 fourth quarter, but mortgage revenue faced declines of 31 percent due to a decline in refinancing revenue.

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With more than 10.5 million consumers signed up on My LendingTree, revenue grew 70 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

Lebda said the company now has the infrastructure in place to execute brand marketing profitably and at scale. It plans to continue to invest in improving the mortgage experience for both borrowers and lenders.

Lebda added that as it entered the insurance category, it has also greatly expanded the ways it could help consumers make better financial decisions.

The company raised its 2019 revenue estimate to between $1.01 billion and $1.05 billion, up from a range of $990 million to $1.03 billion. Wall Street analysts are currently estimating revenue of $1.02 billion.

It projects revenue between $235 million and $245 million in the first quarter, above the current analyst estimates of $234.5 million.

This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

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