Knight Ridder Tops Estimates

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Knight Ridder

(KRI)

announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.09 a share, topping the $1.07 consensus estimate of analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company earned $1.03 a share in the year-ago quarter.

Ad revenues are really the pivotal number to look at when looking at a media company's earnings. K-R's ad revenue was up 8.1% for the fourth quarter, which included an extra week that did not occur in the year-ago quarter. Judging apples to apples and eliminating that extra week, Knight's ad revenue only increased 1.5%.

With the ad market slowing, Knight said that growth would be mired in the low double digits for most of 2001, with ad revenues growing between 3.5% and 4.5%. In comparison, ad revenues increased 4.7% this year, and that includes both the dot-com ad boom and the subsequent dot-com bust.