Surging Dow Lifts Newspaper Sector

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Wall Street’s good cheer extended to the unloved newspaper sector Tuesday as the surging Big Board closed with all publicly traded newspaper companies ending the day in positive territory.

Even The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) advanced, despite reporting before markets opened that its February ad revenue was off 6.6% from last year, and that classified ad revenue was down by more than 20% so far in 2008. Times stock closed at $18.95, up 21 cents, or 1.12%, on the day.

Investors also forgave The McClatchy Co., (NYSE: MNI) which reported after markets closed Monday that its February revenue had crashed by 12.

The biggest percentage gainer in the sector was Sun-Times Media Group (NYSE: SVN), which has been barred from on-the-floor trading because of its low stock price. The company ended the day at 79 cents, up 19 cents, or 27.1%. During the day Tuesday, the company had no comment on how it might be impacted by a Canadian court ruling declaring bankrupt some $32 million in asset-backed commercial paper issued by non-banks. The Chicago Sun-Times parent has been unable since August to redeem $48 million in the short-term investments.

Troubled Journal Register Co. (NYSE: JRC) , which has also been barred from floor trading, was unchanged at 80 cents a share on volume that was about one-tenth its daily average in the last month.

Among the more robust gainers was Lee, (NYSE: LEE) which ended the day at $10.61, up 57 cents, or 5.6%; Media General Inc. (NYSE: MEG) , at $15.56, up 79 cents, or 5.35%; and GateHouse Media Inc. (NYSE: GHS) at $5.92, up 27 cents, or 4.78%.

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