(AP) Dow Jones & Co. Inc. said Thursday its first quarter profit tumbled 48% because the tough advertising market has been weakened further by the effects of war in Iraq.
The New York-based publisher of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s also warned that second quarter profit would be down sharply if the effects of the war persist.
Dow Jones, which also owns Dow Jones Newswires and the Ottaway Group of community newspapers, earned $66.9 million, or 82 cents per share, for the three months ending March 31, down from $129.8 million, or $1.53 per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time items such as a gain of 73 cents per share related to the sale of Telerate, Dow Jones said it earned 12 cents per share. That beat the consensus estimate of 10 cents a share of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.
Revenue for the quarter was $358.2 million, down nearly 9% from $392.9 million a year earlier.
“We continue to be hampered by the persistently difficult business and advertising environment, especially in our core financial and technology advertising segments, further exacerbated by the war in Iraq,” said Dow Jones Chairman and CEO Peter R. Kann, in a statement.
Ad linage at the U.S. editions of the Journal was down 11% in the quarter from a year earlier.
The company said it expects earnings per share before items to be in the mid-teen cents per share range in the second quarters. The consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First call was for earnings of 31 cents per share.
Dow Jones stock was down 32 cents to $36.32 a share in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.