Knight Ridder Warns On Earnings

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(AP) A continued slump in the advertising market will cause newspaper publisher Knight Ridder to miss its earnings target for the year, the company warned Friday.

October revenue dropped 12% from the same time last year, prompting CEO Tony Ridder to lower Knight Ridder’s earning forecast of last month by about 10 cents per share.

A month ago Ridder said he was comfortable with analyst projections estimating the company would end the year with earnings of $2.91 per share, excluding one-time charges for job cuts and other measures.

Industry analysts already had lowered their expectations to $2.88 per share before Friday’s warning, according to the consensus estimate calculated by Thomson Financial/First Call.

“Obviously, I would like nothing better than to report that we see an uptick. But overall, I cannot point to meaningful improvement,” Ridder said.

Knight Ridder’s shares fell $1 to close at $60.80 in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The San Jose Mercury News, the hometown paper of the ailing Silicon Valley, suffered the sharpest advertising declines among Knight Ridder’s large newspapers during October. Total advertising linage at the San Jose paper plunged 22% from the same time last year.

Through the first 10 months of the year, total advertising linage at the Mercury News dropped by 13%.

With 32 papers in 28 U.S. markets, Knight Ridder is the nation’s second-largest newspaper group behind Gannett Co. Inc.

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