Better Homes, Gardens and Profits

12/13/2002 12:00 am EST

Focus:

S&P's The Outlook notes, "The recent setback in the S&P 500 probably represents no more than a normal consolidation. Profit taking could continue a while longer, but we look for an upturn later this month and into January on year-end reinvestment demand, and we see solid net gains for the next 12 months. We’d use setbacks to add to portfolios." Here's a pick from S&P stock strategist, Kevin Gooley.

"With its emphasis on the home and family market, Meredith Corp. (MDP NYSE) should continue to benefit from favorable demographic trends. The company publishes 16 magazine brands, including Better Homes and Gardens, owns 11 network-affiliated TV stations and has extensive interactive media and integrated marketing operations.

"Meredith recently acquired American Baby Group from Primedia Inc. in a deal that will help it lure a younger readership, tap the fast-growing US Hispanic market and boost earnings. American Baby Group publishes three English- and three Spanish-language magazines, produces television shows, and owns six consumer sampling programs, custom publishing operations, the ABG Family Research Center, and two Web sites. American Baby Group could add up to $0.04 a share to Meredith’s earnings in its first 12 months.

"MDP beat consensus earnings estimates by a penny in the first quarter of the fiscal year ending June 2003. With advertising revenues likely to show double-digit year-to-year gains over the remainder of fiscal 2003, we are expecting a 30% jump in earnings to $1.76 a share. We are projecting nearly a 14% rise to $2 for fiscal 2004. The shares should continue to outperform."

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