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MarketWatch.com to Cut Staff

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SAN FRANCISCO -- MarketWatch.com Inc. said it will cut more than 15% of its employees and extend its cost-cutting program to further reduce discretionary spending in areas such as marketing, travel and entertainment and contract services.

The financial-news publisher expects savings of more than $9 million, excluding an unspecified restructuring charge in the second quarter.

"Our focus is on maintaining MarketWatch.com as the No. 1 financial news and information source on the Internet while achieving our financial goal of generating positive cash flow by the end of this year," Larry Kramer, MarketWatch.com's chairman and chief executive, said Wednesday in a prepared statement. "With the slowdown in advertising revenue and the uncertain economic outlook for the rest of the year, we believe it is prudent to implement these additional cost-reduction measures."

Company officials weren't immediately available to provide additional information on the job cuts and the restructuring charge.

As MarketWatch (MKTW) attempts to deal with the problems in the industry, it also faces a shareholder lawsuit. The complaint, filed in mid-April, claims investors weren't informed that lead underwriter Salomon Smith Barney and other investment banks, in deciding how to allocate MarketWatch shares, received kickbacks or made so-called 'tie-in' arrangements with customers to artificially inflateMarketWatch's stock price after the offering.

As of March 31, MarketWatch's headcount totaled 255. For the first quarter, the financial-news publisher posted a narrower loss of $19.9 million, or $1.20 a share, on revenue of $11.8 million.

MarketWatch is a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (VIA) unit CBS Corp. and Data Broadcasting Corp. (DBCC). In December, Data Broadcasting sold its stake to Pearson PLC (PSO) for about $26.9 million.

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