New York Times Short Interest High, Faith In Online Plan May Be Fraying

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Shares sold short in The New York Times Company (NYT) were just below 16 million against daily trading volume in the company’s "A" share of 1.158 million. That means that the number of trading days to cover the short position is fourteen, one of the highest levels of any company trading on The New York Stock Exchange.

NYT shares trade at $22, down from $47 in June 2004. It is a decline shares by many newspaper groups. But, due to its large online audience, Wall St. has hoped that the company could fill in the hole created by falling print revenue with income from its websites. The company had 47.2 million unique visitors in July. Based on current revenue estimates, the NYT online properties should do over $350 million in revenue this year.

But, July numbers show that online revenue growth is slowing. wrote  "Internet ad growth for the NYT News Media group was down sequentially—19.3% for July compared with 22% in June. In comparison, in July ‘06, internet ad revenue was up 27.5%." 

The online business at NYT is all most investors have to hang onto. And, it does not appear that it can bear much more weight.

Douglas A. McIntyre