second-quarter operating earnings tumbled 52% as the company continued to struggle with the virtual disappearance of technology and business advertising. The
Wall Street Journal
publisher also predicted third-quarter earnings that are well below existing expectations.
Excluding various items, earnings for the quarter ended June 30 were$21.4 million, or 25 cents a share, down from $45.5 million, or 52 cents ashare, last year. Analysts polled by FirstCall were expecting 22 cents ashare. Total revenues plunged 14% to $417 million while print publication revenues fell 16.5%.
Including the items, net income was $54 million, or 64 cents a share, compared with $43.2 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
"We continue to profitably navigate our way in the most difficult global advertising environment witnessed in my three decades in thisbusiness; especially in our dominant financial and technology advertising segments," said Peter R. Kann, the chairman and CEO, in a statement.
Nevertheless, Kann said on Thursday's conference call that he didn't yet see a rebound in national advertising.
Rich Zannino, Dow Jones' executive vice president and cheif operating officer, said that ad trends could improve in August and September after what is sizing up as a rotten July. However, even with the expected improvement, Zannino said it wouldn't result in a recovery.
Zannino estimated that third quarter earnings per share would be in the range of the "upper single digits." Analysts polled by FirstCall have estimated third quarter earnings at 31 cents per share. In 2001, third quarter earnings came in at 20 cents a share.
Zannino declined to give any fourth quarter guidance.
Dow Jones shares closed down 2.97% to $43.82, up from making a fresh 52-week low of $42.70.