Two news publishers reported higher second-quarter profits Thursday, but each guided future earnings below analysts' expectations. The stocks were moving lower in morning trading. Dow Jones ( DJ) said net earnings were $34.04 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, vs. $30.84 million, or 38 cents a share, in the same period last year. Analysts had been expecting 38 cents a share in the most recent quarter. Total quarterly revenue increased 11.2% to $437.8 million. By segment, print publishing revenue was up 8.3% to $19.5 million, while revenue in its electronic division increased 20.2%. Advertising revenue was $255.8 million, up from $223.3 million a year ago. At The Wall Street Journal, total advertising linage was up 3.3%, with general advertising linage up 15.2% and technology advertising linage down 27.9%. At Barron's, national advertising pages were up 21.1%. "We still see inconsistent trends in monthly Wall Street Journal advertising and ad levels, and results remain well below what we consider normal levels," the company said in a statement. Looking to the third quarter, Dow Jones expects to earn 20 cents a share, before items, compared to the consensus estimate for 24 cents a share. That would compare to 14 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Including items, earnings should be up in "the upper-teens cents-per-share range," compared to 35 cents per share in the third quarter last year, the company said. Dow Jones noted that the third quarter is historically the lightest quarter for advertising spending at The Wall Street Journal. Separately, E.W. Scripps ( SSP) posted a big jump in second-quarter profit, citing strong advertising sales, television affiliate fees and political advertising sales. The company earned $86.4 million, or $1.05 a share, compared to $64.7 million, or 80 cents a share, a year ago. The latest quarter included a $7 million gain from the sale of certain properties. Quarterly sales were up 15% at $547 million.
Scripps said solid results in its television network contributed to the quarter's results. Operating profit for the segment rose 56% to $87.5 million, while revenue was $157 million, up 35%. Scripps operates Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY - Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. Meanwhile, $6.2 million in political advertising revenue helped profit in the broadcast segment increase 15% to $28.2 million. Last year, political advertising revenue totaled $800,000, and during the 2000 presidential election, revenue was $2.2 million in the second quarter. "At our newspapers, revenues grew modestly during the quarter but increased healthcare costs for our employees and higher newsprint prices teamed up to hold back profits," the company said in a statement. "Newspaper profits also were affected by a persistent general softness in local retail advertising, especially in the department store category." Total newspaper segment profit was $58.6 million, down 13%. Newspaper advertising revenue at publications managed only by Scripps was $139 million, up 1.9%. In the third quarter, Scripps expects to earn 70 cents to 78 cents a share. Analysts are currently expecting 76 cents a share. Shares of the Cincinnati-based company were lately down $1, or 1%, at $102 on the New York Stock Exchange. On Wednesday, the New York Times ( NYT) posted a modest increase in second-quarter earnings, meeting analysts' expectations. The company said the pace of advertising spending slowed during the quarter and that it is continuing in July. Shares of New York Times were recently down 90 cents, or 2.1%, at $42.11 in Thursday trading.