Newspaper Stocks Surge on Journal Communications, Lee Q1 Earnings

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Newspaper stocks Tuesday staged a big rally that was touched off by Journal Communications first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and a third straight quarterly profit by Lee Enterprises.

Three newspaper sector stocks hit new 52-week highs during frenetic trading that pushed volumes on most stocks by three to four times the normal number of shares. At Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN), nearly 10 times the normal number of shares changed hands.

JRN led the sector surge, jumping as much as 13% to a new 52-week high of $6.10 before closing at $5.91, a 62-cent, or 11.7%, gain. Just last July, JRN hit its current 52-week low of 86 cents a share.

Media General (NYSE: MEG) soared nearly 10% to $12.32 on an $1.11 gain. MEG also set a new 52-week high during the session.

The McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI) releases its Q1 results Thursday, and The Street seemed intent on building in their expectations. MNI established a new high of $6.99 before closing at $6.95 a share, a gain of 48 cents, or 7.4%. The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) also reports results Thursday. It increased 69 cents, or 5.7%, to close at $12.80.

Ironically, Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) was a rare newspaper stock left out the rally. Soon after Tuesday?s open, shares dropped more than 10%, and recovered over the rest of the session. LEE ended the day at $4.37, a dip of 3 cents, or 0.7%.

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