Journal Communications Dips on Target Cut

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Shares of Journal Communications Inc. slid Tuesday as a Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst cut the company’s price target on soft publishing revenue trends.

Last week, Journal Communications said its August revenue from continuing operations dropped 7.5 percent. Revenue at the publishing segment, which includes daily newspaper and community newspapers and shoppers, dipped 6.9 percent to $20.4 million. Ad revenue for the division slid 9 percent to $15.2 million.

Analyst Mark Bacurin said quarter-to-date publishing revenue is off 7.3 percent with a 9.8 percent drop in advertising. Broadcasting revenue for the quarter-to-date is down 6.9 percent, with a drop of 11.3 percent in television and a 0.3 percent decline in radio.

“While the ongoing deterioration of publishing revenue is disappointing, we believe the stock is discounting this reality,” he wrote in a client note.

Bacurin lowered his price target to $15 from $16. He also cut his third-quarter earnings per share estimate to 15 cents from 17 cents and trimmed his fourth-quarter forecast to 19 cents per share from 20 cents. Bacurin’s 2007 earnings per share estimate dropped to 65 cents from 67 cents.

Shares of Journal Communications fell 40 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $9.82 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $9.58 to $14.


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