Two big newspaper publishers managed to beat analyst expectations in the second quarter despite lower earnings that reflected a war-worsened advertising slump and the negative impact of SARS.
earned $30.8 million, or 38 cents a share, in the second quarter, down from $54 million, or 64 cents, last year. Excluding several items the earnings were 27 cents a share, 2 cents better than analysts were forecasting.
New York Times
earned $72.8 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $78.8 million, or 51 cents per share. That was a nickel better than forecasts.
Both companies saw continued weak advertising in the period, although New York Times managed a small gain, up 3.4% to $530.6 million. At Dow Jones, overall advertising revenue fell to $223.3 million from $245.0 million.
Moreover, even if everything goes according to plan regarding the
Wall Street Journal's
ad volume, Dow Jones expects per-share operating earnings to rise in the third quarter by a percentage in the upper-single digits over the 6 cents it earned last year. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 13 cents.
"While the advertising and business environment is still difficult, we are beginning to see some indications of improvement," Dow Jones said in a statement. "Over the past few years, we have invested in and improved our products, controlled our spending, and continue to execute on ... our long-range plan. These actions are paying dividends and position us to take full advantage of an improved environment, when it arrives."
New York Times stood by expectations of full-year EPS growth in the low to mid-single digits, but said to ensure achieving the goal it would carry out expense reductions.
"While we expect an improved ad environment in the back-half of the year, we are not relying exclusively on it. To better assure that our financial performance for the second half of the year returns to solid year-over-year gains, we are also taking strong action on the cost side of our business," the company said.
Bucking the trend was
, which had earnings of $1.20 a share in the second quarter, up from $1.13 last year. The company cited solid results in overseas newspapers and its television division.