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The New York Times Co.

(NYT) - Get New York Times Company Class A Report

Tuesday updated guidance for fourth-quarter and full-year earnings and offered its outlook for 2004, while saying it expects advertising revenue to improve along with the overall economy.

The newspaper publisher said it now expects fourth-quarter earnings of 69 cents to 72 cents a share. That compares with a consensus estimate of 71 cents a share and 69 cents a year ago.

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For the full year, the company forecast results of $1.94 to $1.97 a share compared with the consensus estimate of 1.93 a share, according to Thomson First Call. In October, the company said it expected to earn about $1.94 a share, the same as 2002.

"While we have yet to see significant and sustained advertising revenue growth in 2003, we believe that the overall improvement in economic trends will translate into an improved ad revenue performance in 2004," the company said.

Advertising revenue for the company's newspaper group in November increased 2.2% compared with the results for the same month last year. A 5.2% increase in national advertising revenue was largely offset by declines in the retail and classified categories.

For 2004, the company expects an earnings growth rate in "the low- to mid-single digits." Analysts' estimates call for $2.19 a share.

Recently, shares were up 27 cents, or 0.6%, to $45.90.