GANNETT SETS PACE FOR QUARTERLY PROFITS

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The latest quarterly results are having many advertisers, agencies and media feeling bullish.

Gannett Co., Arlington, Va.: Thanks to a surge in advertising, Gannett delighted Wall Street with a 19% rise in third-quarter net income to $105.5 million, built on $932.4 million in revenue, up 6%. "They were certainly an upside surprise relative to [Wall] Street expectations," said Kevin Gruenich, First Boston media analyst.

CBS, New York: The company blamed plummeting profits mainly on higher taxes and lower income as a result of a onetime gain of $29.5 million from a legal settlement with Viacom. The 51% drop in net income to $58.4 million came on 4% lower revenue of $726.3 million. Year-to-date results weren't as severe, with net income down 15.3% to $237 million and revenue down 13% to $2.47 billion. Some analysts attributed the ensuing CBS stock fall to the network's performance this season (see story on Page 3).

PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y.: Beverages and snacks posted solid volume gains. Overall third-quarter earnings spurted 18% to $541.4 million as revenue rose 11.7% to $7.06 billion. For the first nine months, earnings were up 18% to $1.24 billion and revenues up 12% to $19.35 billion. In the U.S., bottler case sales grew 6%, the company's largest quarterly gain since 1990. Pizza Hut profits slid 25% worldwide to $75.8 million on 5% higher sales of $1 billion.

Motorola, Schaumburg, Ill.: New sales and profit records were set for the quarter and nine months as the company built on its world leadership in wireless communications. Earnings soared 49.6% to $380 million; sales jumped 29.5% to $5.7 billion. For the first nine months, Motorola earned $1.05 billion, up 54%, as revenue advanced 32% to $15.8 billion.

Looking ahead: Foote, Cone & Belding Communications, Chicago, is expected to report 24.2% higher third-quarter net income of $4.1 million, according to Dean Witter Reynolds. Revenues should hit $100 million, a 3.8% gain. ... Omnicom Group, New York, is also expected to make a strong gain, with net income to rise 16.7% to $18.9 million, according to Dean Witter. Revenue should be up 20.7% to $409.7 million. ... Interpublic Group of Cos., New York, will see net income climb 19% to $17.5 million on a 6.2% revenue gain to $436.5 million, Dean Witter said. ... Apple Computer, Cupertino, Calif., today expects to report earnings greater than 90 cents a share, far above analysts' projections, on healthy revenues of $2.5 billion, for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30. That's a strong turnaround from the 2 cents a share, or $2.7 million, earned on sales of $2.14 billion in the same period a year ago.

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