Gannett Earnings: What to Expect

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gannett ( GCI) shares gained more than 1% on Friday ahead of its fourth-quarter report, which is scheduled to be released on Monday, Jan. 31 before the market opens.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimate the company's earnings will come in at 80 cents a share for the December period.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, six research analysts have a buy rating on the stock, while 3 rate it at neutral. There are currently no "sell" ratings on the stock.

While management traditionally does not offer quarterly forecasts, Gannett did provide an outlook at a conference presentation in December.

President and COO Gracia Martore said the company estimates its fourth-quarter earnings will come in at the high end of a range of 72-to-82 cents a share. In its fiscal third quarter ending in September, Gannett's earnings rose 37.5% to $101.4 million, or 42 cents per share, driven by a 22.3% gain in its broadcasting segment revenues.

Gannett counts on strong local market content to boost its revenue, Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow said at the conference.

"We are focusing on deepening our valuable local content," Dubow said. "The keys to success in these local markets is fully engaging consumers and connecting them to our advertising customers."

Gannett's U.S. community publishing president Bob Dickey also believes strong local content helps the company retain readers while allowing it to "capture new digital advertisers."

"Advertising trends are improving at the local level in many segments because of the changes put into place," Dickey said. "Consumers value our content, trust our brands and we continue to deliver improved products and services across all the platforms available to us."

A few weeks ago, Gannett shares spiked after media analyst John Janedis of UBS upped his price target on the stock to $15 from $13, citing higher expectations for its job recruitment site, CareerBuilder.com.

Janedis believes that Gannett will see gains at CareerBuilder as the online recruitment industry continues to grow.

As part of his call, Janedis reviewed his valuation methodology on Gannett's 50% stake in CareerBuilder.com and determined the overall impact of its valuation on Gannett is about $2 a share.

He predicts Gannett's fourth-quarter revenue will come in at $1.47 billion and forecasts earnings of 80 cents a share. Earnings came in at 72 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 2009.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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