Amid the continuing trial of its founder and namesake, shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Management crammed all kinds of bad news into the earnings release. Revenues fell more than 16% to $296 million. Operating costs fell, but not as quickly, leading to a $6.4 million operating loss and a net loss of $2.8 million, even after help from interest income and an income tax benefit. That figure was down from a profit of $7.3 million a year ago.
All four of the company's operating segments -- television, merchandising, Internet/direct commerce, and the key publishing operation -- saw revenues fall in Q4. Only the merchandising operation, which saw its collection of goods licensed to retailer Kmart
The uncertainty surrounding Stewart's trial and the fallout that might result from whatever resolution may come is clearly hampering results, particularly at the company's media operations.
Under the circumstances, however, things could be far worse. A strong financial position has the business seemingly well-equipped to weather the current storm, and investors have largely backed Martha despite everything: The shares have risen substantially against the S&P 500 since we last discussed the market's support back in late October -- and are up 132% (vs. the S&P 500's 38% gain) since David Gardner recommended the company in Motley Fool Stock Advisor.
Are investors right to bid the company's shares up even as the media focuses more and more coverage on its namesake? Talk it over on our Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia discussion board.
Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story. He can be reached via email.