Publishing company

Dow Jones

(DJ)

said today it recorded a loss in the fourth quarter after writing off investments in

Bridge Information Systems

and

OptiMark Technologies

.

Excluding the losses incurred from Bridge and OptiMark, Dow Jones reported fourth-quarter earnings of $73.4 million, or 83 cents a share. The company earned 85 cents a share in the same period in 1999, excluding one-time charges. The results for the latest quarter were a penny shy of the consensus estimate of 84 cents a share from 10 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The estimate was reduced from 92 cents a share in early December when Dow Jones issued a fourth-quarter

TheStreet Recommends

earnings warning.

The New York-based publisher of

The Wall Street Journal

incurred a loss of $19 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with net income of $60.9 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same year-ago period.

The loss for the quarter included a write-off of $84.1 million, or 96 cents a share, for Bridge and a write-off of $12.1 million, or 14 cents a share, for OptiMark. Dow Jones acquired a stake in Bridge, which is experiencing financial difficulties, when it sold its Telerate division to the company in 1998. The company held a stake in OptiMark previously held by Telerate.

Earlier this month,

Automatic Data Processing

(ADP) - Get Automatic Data Processing, Inc. Report

recorded a $45 million pretax fourth-quarter write-down for its $90 million investment in Bridge.

Dow Jones said revenue totaled $587.98 million, up from $586.66 million in the year-ago period. In general, the slowing U.S. economy has reduced demand for advertising, the revenue from which newspapers depend heavily.

Shares of Dow Jones recently traded down 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $58.63 on the Big Board.