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Dow Jones Doubles First-Quarter Earnings

The New York-based company reported first-quarter earnings of $79.2 million, or 88 cents per diluted share.

Dow Jones

(DJ)

reported Wednesday its earnings per share doubled in the first quarter due mostly to strong performance from the company's print publications. other financial media reported it earned $79.2 million, or 88 cents per diluted share

The publisher of the

Wall Street Journal

,

Barron's

,

Dow Jones Newswires

and proprietor of the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

stock index and during the first quarter, compared to $40.9 million, or 44 cents per diluted share in the year-ago period.

The results easily beat Wall Street expectations. A poll of analysts by

First Call/Thomson Financial

had forecast earnings of 80 cents per share.

The earnings did not include a special gain during the quarter for the sale of newsletter publishing unit,

TheStreet Recommends

Dow Jones Financial Publishing Corp.

, to

Wicks Business Information LLC

last December. Including those gains, the company's net income for the first quarter was $88.7 million, or 98 cents per share, compared to $51.5 million, or 56 cents per share, including special items in first-quarter 1999.

Shares of Dow Jones were down 5/8, or 0.9% in early trading Wednesday at 71 1/4. (Dow Jones finished up 1/4, or 0.4%, at 72 1/8.) The stock is lingering near an all-time high around 73 that it reached earlier this month.

In the first quarter, New York-based Dow Jones enjoyed strong gains in advertising volumes for nearly all of its print publications. Advertising space in the company's flagship

Wall Street Journal

daily newspaper was up 38.2% on a per-issue basis, and advertising pages grew 28.8% at

Barron's

, a weekly financial news tabloid.

Overall operating income in the print publishing segment was $118.7 million, up 126%.

The company's electronic publishing units, which include

Dow Jones Newswires

,

WSJ.com

, and

Factiva

, a joint venture Internet site with

Reuters Group PLC

(RTRSY)

, also produced strong revenue gains, but operating income dropped 37% to $8.5 million.

Earnings from Dow Jones' Ottaway community newspapers group rose 28% to $17.8 million.

Dow Jones' television operations, which include joint ownership of Asian and European operations of

CNBC

with

General Electric's

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report

NBC

, and a content agreement with

CNBC

in the U.S., show a modest profit for the second straight quarter, with pretax income of $400,000 compared with a loss of $3.2 million in first-quarter 1999.