UPDATE 2-MSCI shares hit by weak rev view, Q4 profit drop
* Does not see near-term revenue target reachable
* Will push back hiring plans to manage costs
* Subscription growth and retention rates fall
* Weakness in subscriptions to hurt 2009 (Adds details from conference call)
Jan 9 (Reuters) - MSCI Inc MXB.N said it does not expect to meet its near-term revenue growth targets as it posted its fourth straight quarterly profit drop on soaring expenses, sending its shares down as much as 16 percent.
"In the near term, we do not believe that we will reach the revenue growth targets," Henry Fernandez, chief executive of the investment analysis and market index company, said in a conference call with analysts.
Revenue growth slowed in the fourth quarter, hurt by challenging financial markets across several product categories, he said.
Equity index asset based fees fell 28 percent to $13.5 million in the quarter.
However, Fernandez said the company was comfortable with its long-term financial targets of revenue growth in the midteens. Continuación...