Dow Jones 1Q Profit Falls on 8% Ad Drop at 'WSJ'

By: (AP) Financial news provider Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday that first-quarter earnings fell sharply from a year ago, as advertising at the U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal dropped 8% and Barron's ad pages decreased nearly 13%.

Net income dropped to $8.2 million, or 10 cents per share, in the January-March period, from $17.8 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items, the company earned 11 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue of $412.1 million was up 2.6% from $401.6 million last year, and expenses increased 7.4% during the quarter. Excluding recent acquisitions and special items, revenue fell 3.4% in the first quarter of 2005 due to advertising declines in the company's print publishing segment.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 10 cents per share on sales of $424.2 million.

Chairman and CEO Peter R. Kann said, "We continue to battle a persistently difficult B2B print advertising climate, particularly in the technology category. However, heading into the second quarter, we are cautiously optimistic that advertising trends will improve. Meantime, we will remain sharply focused on controlling costs, improving the quality of our products, integrating our acquisition of MarketWatch and launching Weekend Edition in September -- both of which are proceeding in line with our expectations."

Dow Jones said it estimates second-quarter operating earnings will be in the mid-to-upper 30 cents per share range before dilution from Weekend Edition and MarketWatch, compared with the 41 cents per share earned in the year-ago period.

After dilution from Weekend Edition and MarketWatch, second-quarter earnings per share are forecast to be in the low-to-mid 30 cents per share range.

Analysts are predicting the company will post operating earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $480.5 million in the second quarter.

The company said it expects U.S. Wall Street Journal will be down in the low-single-digit percentage range compared with the second quarter of 2004. Reported earnings per share are forecast to be in the low-to-mid 40 cents per share range, compared with 41 cents last year.

Shares of Dow Jones were unchanged at $37.18 in early trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, near the low end of a 52-week range of $36.85 to $49.68.


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