E. W. Scripps (SSP) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of E. W. Scripps (NYSE:SSP) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “The E.W. Scripps Company serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of television, print and digital media brands. It also runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses including online multi-source video news provider Newsy. Scripps also produces television programming, runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and serves as the long-time steward of one of the nation’s longest-running and most successful educational programs, Scripps National Spelling Bee. Scripps is focused on the stories of tomorrow. Scripps is one of the nation’s largest independent TV station owners. Scripps also runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses, including multi-platform satire and humor brand Cracked, podcast industry leader Midroll Media and over-the-top video news service Newsy. “

SSP has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Noble Financial reissued a buy rating on shares of E. W. Scripps in a research note on Friday, October 19th. Benchmark reissued a buy rating and issued a $20.00 target price on shares of E. W. Scripps in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Stephens set a $15.00 target price on E. W. Scripps and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 7th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $18.40.

Shares of E. W. Scripps stock traded down $0.89 during trading on Thursday, hitting $16.85. The stock had a trading volume of 1,467,184 shares, compared to its average volume of 438,715. E. W. Scripps has a 12 month low of $10.69 and a 12 month high of $18.44.

E. W. Scripps (NYSE:SSP) last released its earnings results on Friday, November 9th. The company reported $0.24 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.20 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $302.70 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $292.22 million. The firm’s revenue was up 51.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned ($0.03) EPS.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 26th. Investors of record on Friday, December 14th will be paid a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 13th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.19%.

In other news, major shareholder Charles E. Scripps bought 5,000 shares of E. W. Scripps stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 22nd. The shares were acquired at an average price of $17.82 per share, with a total value of $89,100.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Mary Peirce bought 15,411 shares of E. W. Scripps stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $17.72 per share, for a total transaction of $273,082.92. Following the purchase, the insider now owns 373,126 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,611,792.72. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last three months, insiders purchased 310,542 shares of company stock worth $5,192,641. 4.16% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Cove Street Capital LLC increased its stake in E. W. Scripps by 8.8% in the second quarter. Cove Street Capital LLC now owns 4,025,431 shares of the company’s stock valued at $53,901,000 after acquiring an additional 326,712 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in E. W. Scripps by 2.6% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 2,581,130 shares of the company’s stock valued at $42,588,000 after buying an additional 65,986 shares during the period. Litespeed Management L.L.C. boosted its position in E. W. Scripps by 3.6% during the second quarter. Litespeed Management L.L.C. now owns 433,529 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,805,000 after buying an additional 15,000 shares during the period. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its position in E. W. Scripps by 24.8% during the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 403,843 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,409,000 after buying an additional 80,377 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its position in E. W. Scripps by 5.8% during the second quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 118,693 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,589,000 after buying an additional 6,476 shares during the period. 77.70% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

E. W. Scripps Company Profile

The E.W. Scripps Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a media enterprise through a portfolio of local and national media brands. Its Local Media segment operates broadcast television stations, which produce news, information, and entertainment content, as well as its related digital operations.

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