* Posts Q4 net loss of $4.54 per share
* Revenue falls to $555.8 mln
* 2010 EPS forecast of $1.00 vs Street’s $1.39
* Shares fall more than 9 percent
(Adds earnings details, analyst comment, company comment, share price, previous NEW YORK)
LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Penn National Gaming Inc (PENN.O) posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results as consumer spending softened and gave a 2010 forecast well below Wall Street’s estimates, sending its shares down more than 9 percent.
“Penn’s fourth-quarter results and guidance suggest that high unemployment levels and general economic weakness are holding back a recovery in the regional gaming markets,” Goldman Sachs analyst Steve Kent said in a research note.
He said Penn reported quarterly operating earnings per share of 11 cents, which fell short the 18 cents per share forecast by Wall Street analysts.
On a net basis, the company reported a loss of $355.4 million, or $4.54 per share, compared with a net loss of $378.6 million, or $4.77 in the same 2008 period.
Revenue fell to $555.8 million from $571.1 million. The analysts’ average estimate was $573.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Looking ahead, Penn said it expects 2010 revenue of $2.43 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $1.00. Analysts had forecast revenue of $2.52 billion and earnings per share of $1.39.
Penn, which operates racetracks and casinos in U.S. cities other than Atlantic City and Las Vegas, last month bowed out of bidding on the bankrupt, unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas casino resort.
A Florida court subsequently approved billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s offer for the 3,800-room property.
Penn Chief Executive Peter Carlino, speaking on a conference call with analysts and investors, said the company is still engaged in talks over acquiring a possible presence in Las Vegas.
Shares of Penn were down $2.47 at $24.74 in midday trading on Nasdaq.
Reporting by Deena Beasley and Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Dave Zimmerman