Wachovia: Worst Quarter Ever?

By: Jennifer Saba

“It looks like another one for the books,” wrote John Janedis, senior analyst at Wachovia Equity Research. And not in a good way, either.

Janedis was summing up Q2 results for the newspaper companies in Wachovia’s coverage universe in a note released today and so far, ad revenue is down about 13.4%. He called it “one of the worst quarters in industry history.”

Classified advertising revenue plunged 30% over the past two years and “still there is no sign that the declines are easing,” he wrote.

Janedis and his team track the page counts of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. While executives with the New York Times Co., declined to speculate how July was shaping up so far on the company’s earnings call, through July 27 Wachovia found that run of press advertising pages are down. Help wanted and real estate fell 30% and 20% respectively. Department store page counts declined 4%. Page counts for movies dropped 17%. Telecommunications, national automotive and airlines are down 30%.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Wachovia found that June lineage is off in the double-digit range (high teens) with color linage down 25%. July, noted Janedis, is trending better than June.

The online pure play recruitment sites are not immune to the effects of the economy, however. Monster, which is reporting Q2 results on Tuesday, is expected to show declines “given a clearly slowing economy in the U.S. and Europe, weak posting trends, and print and online newspaper help-wanted trends,” according to the note.

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