Thursday 26 April 2018

New York Times shares soar on subscription gains


The New York Times head office in New York
The New York Times head office in New York

US stocks were lower in late morning trading on Wednesday as index-heavyweight Apple's disappointing report put a dampener on what has been a largely upbeat earnings season, with major stock indexes hovering near record highs.

'New York Times' shares jumped the most in four years after the newspaper publisher reported new digital sign-ups drove record subscriber growth.

Shares of the New York-based publisher jumped as much as 12pc to $15.95 in New York, the most since February 2013. The stock was up 7.5pc this year through Tuesday.

The paper added 308,000 net online news customers in the first quarter, continuing its momentum in the wake of the November 8 election and advancing long-term efforts to reach 10 million digital subscribers.

The paper is one of several media outlets to benefit from what's being called the 'Trump Bump' - public criticism from US President Donald Trump that amounts to free advertising for the publisher.

Shares of Apple dropped 1.4pc to $145.42 after the company reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales and forecast current-quarter revenue below estimates.

Apple was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes.

The S&P technology sector fell 0.44pc, making it the biggest drag on the benchmark index among the 11 major S&P sectors.

Strong corporate reports so far had resulted in estimates for first-quarter profit growth at S&P 500 companies increasing to 14.2pc as of Wednesday, from an estimate of 10.4pc growth two weeks' back, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"We're about 70pc through the earnings season and despite some isolated incidents, overall the season has been great," said Randy Frederick, vice-president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

"And that's one of the reasons why the indexes are hovering near record levels."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P and the Nasdaq are less than 1pc away from their record highs.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the materials index's SPLRCM 0.67pc fall leading the decliners.

In Dublin the Iseq index was up marginally to 6,991.34, adding to steep gains on Tuesday.

Ryanair was up on the back of a 14pc increase in passenger numbers for April.

But Paddy Power Betfair shares fell 3.4pc to €100.65 after the betting giant sounded a cautious note on revenue growth citing "pretty extreme" competition in its main European markets.

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