Dow Jones & Co.
The company reported third-quarter results above expectations, earning $0.14 per share (excluding one-time charges), or $11.4 million. On a GAAP basis, the company earned $0.11 per share, or $9.1 million, triple last year's earnings.
Revenue rose 6.7% to $376 million, driven by a 7% increase in advertising sales at The Wall Street Journal, most of it coming from a 29% year-over-year increase in September ad sales (a healthy jump even if there was one extra sales day compared to last year). Dow Jones' earnings were also nudged higher by a slightly lower average tax rate.
The company's online business, mainly The Wall Street Journal Online, continued to impress. Sales grew a respectable 5.6% to $79.4 million, operating income leapt 26% to $17 million, and WSJ Online subscriber numbers rose 3.3% to 686,000. Outside of ISPs, the Journal has the largest online subscription base in the world.
Management predicted $0.40 per share in fourth-quarter earnings, up from $0.34 a year ago, and suggested the ad market has bottomed.
At $50 per share, the $4.1 billion company trades at approximately 40 times free cash flow and 39 times forward earnings-per-share estimates. The stock's 1.9% dividend yield isn't attractive enough to win it a coveted spot in Motley Fool Income Investor, nor is the generous-looking valuation.
Elsewhere in the publishing industry, giant Gannett