Why E.W. Scripps Shares Sank

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of newspaper and television company E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP  ) sank as low as 14% today after its quarterly results and guidance disappointed Wall Street.

So what: The stock has risen sharply in 2013 on signs of a rebound in earnings, but today's second-quarter results -- profit fell 41% on a 4.2% decline in revenue -- coupled with downbeat guidance for the full year is forcing analysts to scale back their expectations a bit. On a positive note, E.W.'s digital revenue climbed a solid 14% during the quarter, suggesting that management is battling the broad decline in print advertising quite well.

Now what: For full-year 2013, management expects television revenue to be down to the low teens due to the political off-year, and newspaper revenue and expenses to fall at a low-single-digit rate, with the decline in expenses to be greater than the revenue decline. "Across the country this summer, we're rolling out the next generation of news apps and Internet news brands, designed to set our brands apart for engagement with fast-growing audiences through high-quality enterprise reporting and multi-platform story telling," said Chairman and CEO Rich Boehne. "These new digital news products are being accompanied by an expanded advertising sales force dedicated to garnering more than our share of this evolving marketplace." Given the strong secular headwinds that still face E.W. Scripps, however, I'd continue to be cautious about buying into that bullishness.

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