What happened

Shares of Gannett (NYSE:GCI) were racing 15% higher in afternoon trading Friday after Citigroup (NYSE:C) raised its price target on the media company even though it maintained its sell rating on the stock.

So what

Earlier this month, the company reported losses of $3.32 per share, missing analyst estimates by a wide margin, which led to Citi updating its earnings model for the company and raising their estimates for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

Despite the increase, there is still concern Gannett faces revenue headwinds, as well as its leverage position and being constrained on free cash flow.

Man pointing up alongside an arrow

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Gannett's stock jump today follows gains it made after hours yesterday when the owner of USA Today filed notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission that director Laurence Tarica had purchased over $74,500 in shares at an average price of $1.64 per share.

Heading into the market's close, Gannett's stock was trading at around $1.90, meaning Citi's price target indicates a 47% downside.

Regardless of the director's vote of confidence, the publisher needs to provide some proof that its plans for a turnaround and unlocking value are going to work before investors get too excited about this stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.