New York Times ad outlook dim, shares fall

The New York Times Co (NYSE:NYT – News) warned on Wednesday that print newspaper advertising will continue to decline, sending shares down nearly 9 percent, even as the company slashed costs to reach a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit.

The results, like that of other U.S. newspaper publishers, show that revenue declines are easing as the economy improves and advertisers are taking ginger steps back into the market. Even so, they are reducing what they spend on print media anyway, keeping newspapers’ long-term futures uncertain.

U.S. newspapers have been among the media sectors hit hardest by the ad slump, though the Times said advertisers had started to increase their rate of spending across its papers and websites during the quarter. [Read the full article]

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Shares of OpenTable Inc., which provides online restaurant reservations and guest management services for restaurants, rose sharply Wednesday after the company reported surprisingly good fourth-quarter results.

Citi Investment Research analyst Mark S. Mahaney said that while industry wide reservations are essentially flat year-over-year, OpenTable’s reservations grew 40 percent.

“We continue to believe network effects and industry stabilization should drive continued growth acceleration in seatings and reservation revenues near term,” he said.

He said OpenTable has a “significant” growth opportunity, since the company, which went public in May, only serves a single-digit percentage of U.S. restaurant reservations.

Shares rose $5.67, or 23 percent, to $30.66 during afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $24.04 and $35.50 since going public in May. [Read the full article]

The following stocks were among those that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday:

Fourth-quarter profit more than doubled as the beer brewer held onto price hikes it made during the recession, but shares fell.

The nation’s biggest dairy company issued a weak forecast and said higher operating costs hit fourth-quarter profit.

The wireless carrier, which has lost millions of customers over the past few years, slowed down the quarterly rate of subscriber loss.

The publisher’s quarterly earnings more than tripled, helped by cost cutting, an improving ad market and lower pension costs, but shares fell.

It will buy fellow memory chip maker Numonyx in an all-stock transaction the companies value at $1.27 billion.

Fourth-quarter profit jumped, and the packaging services provider also boosted its full-year adjusted earnings outlook. [Read the full article]

Shares of Netgear Inc. rose Wednesday after the networking equipment maker said its first-quarter revenue would exceed Wall Street’s expectations.

Netgear, which makes products such as routers and switches for homes and business, expects to record $195 million to $205 million in revenue. That compares with the $175.8 million that analysts had forecast on average, according to Thomson Reuters.

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Late Tuesday, Netgear said it earned $7.9 million, or 22 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That compares to a loss of $7.3 million, or 21 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Netgear earned 34 cents per share in the 2009 quarter compared with a loss of 7 cents per share in the 2008 period.

Revenue rose 36 percent to $218.8 million from $161.4 million. Earnings were in line with what analysts had been expecting, but revenue blew past their forecast of $178.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters. [Read the full article]

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