BofA: August Upswing Looking Unlikely

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By: Jennifer Saba

Never mind Knight Ridder’s massive buyback and the speculation surrounding the sale of Dow Jones & Co. — events that generated some short-term excitement on Wall Street. In reality, the industry environment is still pretty humdrum, said a note released by Banc of America Monday.

The research firm expects companies that posted on the high side of July (relative to their peers) to slip in August. “With one month left in 3Q, the industry needs to see a pick-up in advertising in September to meet consensus estimates, which call for -1.5% EPS growth for the group versus our -4.5% estimate,” the note said.

Banc of America keeps tabs on The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in its weekly update. For the Journal, the research firm estimates that ad pages are up 2% to 3% while color pages are down in the double digits. Lineage should remain positive with the forecast of a ?solid September.?

The Times’ help wanted and real estate page counts are down in the low doubles and high singles respectively, said the note. Telecommunications is flat and movie advertising is down in the low teens. Department store page counts declined in the mid-to-high teens.

Online job postings for July on newspaper Web sites are up: The New York Times is up 103%; The Boston Globe is up 13%; The San Diego Union-Tribune is up 9%; the St. Louis Post Dispatch is up 12%; and he New Haven (Conn.) Register is up 28%.

Online real estate postings for July on newspaper Web sites are mixed: The Times is up 8%; the Globe is up 57%; the Union-Tribune is up 35%; the New Haven Register is down 6%.

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