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Dow Jones' earnings plunge

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New York--Dow Jones & Co. Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings fell 53%, hurt by costs related to job cuts.

The publisher of The Wall Street Journal posted net income of $15.2 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $32.1 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 8% to $396.8 million from $431.5 million.

"Our fourth-quarter performance reflects continued cost control and modestly better-than-expected advertising volume at The Wall Street Journal," said Dow Jones Chairman-CEO Peter Kann, in a statement. He added that the company “doesn't see signs of meaningful business-to-business advertising recovery in the near term, as reflected in our outlook for the first quarter of 2003."

For the quarter, Dow Jones expects earnings per share, excluding items, in the mid- to upper-single-digit range, compared with eight cents a share a year ago.

The company sees first-quarter ad linage at The Journal declining 10% to 12% from last year.

--Matthew Schwartz

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