posted an increase in third-quarter earnings and said fourth-quarter earnings would be in line with consensus estimates.
The Dallas-based company earned $31.1 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $28 million, or 25 cents a share, in the previous-year quarter and analysts' estimates of 25 cents a share.
On a pro forma basis, meaning, if the company had expensed stock options, it would have earned 25 cents a share, compared with last year's 22 cents a share.
Consolidated revenue rose 2.5% to $356.3 million. Sales in Belo's television segment increased 1.3% to $160.7 million, while newspaper unit sales rose 2.6% to $184.1 million.
"As expected, revenue firmed as the third quarter progressed, particularly in Belo's television group," said Chief Executive Robert W. Decherd. "As we enter the fourth quarter, visibility is still limited in our core businesses, but we sense that the U.S. economy and the advertising environment are somewhat more predictable. We are hopeful that recent positive economic news will fuel a sustained economic recovery."
Looking to the fourth quarter, the company forecast earnings of 36 cents to 38 cents a share, which includes a 1 cent gain from the sale of a radio station. Excluding the gain, earnings are expected to match analysts' consensus estimates of 35 cents a share. The company earned 39 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.
The company expects that its television segment will have political revenue of about $3.9 million in the fourth quarter, much lower than last year's sales of $27.9 million. Operating costs and expenses are seen 1% to 2% higher than last year as well.
Shares of Belo were down 11 cents, or 0.4%, at $25.86 in midday trading Wednesday.