Friday, August 5, 2011

Morning Brief: Jobs tick up slightly; Washington Post's dismal earnings report shows revenue still declining

The jobs report released this morning will at least not throw gasoline onto the fire that is the stock markets. The Labor Department reported this morning that employers added 117,000 jobs to the economy in July, beating many forecasts.

We have reached a point where a modest uptick in new jobs is considered good news. In general, the employers need to add far more jobs that this report said in order to spur growth. But we'll take what we can at this point. The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1 percent. The U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, also ticked down to 16.1 percent.
Markets this morning are mixed as many European markets may be waiting to see how the Dow opens. The German DAX opened very sharply down, but is recovering, down around one-half percent on the day. It has traded down over 2 percent each day this week. The FTSE is following suit, but the French CAC 40 is actually trading up this morning.

The NYT is live blogging the market this morning after yesterday's 500+ point drop. But with the jobs report pointing to a better open, we'll see how long they decide to keep that up.

The Washington Post Company reported earnings this morning and they aren't doing the markets any favors. The media company reported earnings of $45.6 million versus $91.9 million last year.

Again it was revenue that was the culprit. The WaPo reported that its revenue was down 10 percent in the quarter, with both its education and newspaper divisions to blame.

For the first six months of the year, the WaPo has net income of $60.7 million versus $137.3 million in 2010.

Reflecting how important its Kaplan division is, the WaPo now reports that first. In fact, its newspaper division's revenue losses have been rather modest compared to McClatchy, for instance. For the first half of the year newspaper revenue is only down 3 percent, though it should be noted that most media companies are reporting versus pretty bad 2010 numbers.

Former Beetle Paul McCartney will be contacting the British police concerning the phone hacking scandal. The Daily Mail is reporting that his former wife, Heather Mills, has claimed that the Daily Mirror called her and admitted that it had illegally accessed her voicemails.

"I am going to talk to the police because apparently I have been hacked," McCartney is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "I don’t know much about it because they won’t tell anyone except the person themselves. I do think it’s a horrendous violation of privacy. I do think it has been going on for a long time and I do think more people than we know knew about it."