A rough year for Projo parent A.H. Belo in the stock marketAugust 23rd, 2011 at 12:21 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Providence Journal parent company A.H. Belo’s stock has plunged by almost half since the start of this year.
A.H. Belo closed at $4.84 a share in New York Stock Exchange trading on Monday. That’s down 44% since Dec. 31, when A.H. Belo closed at $8.70. The S&P 500 has fallen just under 10% over the same stretch of time.
But A.H. Belo’s stock performance is far from the worst among publicly traded newspaper companies in 2011.
Lee Enterprises is down 74%, WJAR-TV parent Media General is down 67% and McClatchy is down 62%. Gannett and The New York Times Co. are each down about one-third.
Executives at some papers are starting to order new rounds of layoffs and furloughs as print revenue fails to stabilize and the economy slows, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday:
Newspaper companies are resetting their advertising expectations after a discouraging first half of the year, a shift that could spur a return to more of the job cuts and other belt-tightening moves that spread through the industry in 2008 and 2009. …
[A]nalysts and executives say it will take more time for newspaper companies to cash in on their digital progress, and if current print trends don’t abate in the short term, there will be more pain ahead. “If the top line doesn’t show signs of decreasing at a diminishing rate, they’re facing some rather dire circumstances,” said Edward Atorino, an analyst at Benchmark Co. …
The key drag on ad results for a number of these companies was a significant pullback by local retailers, which account for more than half of ad revenue at many local papers. The uneasy economy and the longer-term shift of ad dollars online continue to play a big role, analysts and executives say.
• Related: Financial picture is starting to get brighter at the Projo (Aug. 10)