The Publishers Weekly Stock Index fell 2.8% in the first six months of 2018 as the share prices of seven companies listed on the PWSI fell between Dec. 29 and June 29, while prices for only four companies rose. The PWSI decline was slightly worse than the 1.8% drop recorded by the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the period.
Barnes Noble Education had the largest decline in the first half of the year, with its share price falling 31.5%. The decline came despite a rally in late June, when the company posted surprisingly good fourth-quarter and fiscal 2018 results. Though BN Education’s stock price rose by $1 (to $7.66) the day after results were released, the share price steadily dropped for the remainder of June. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s stock price fell 14.3% in 2017, and was down another 17.7% in the first half of 2018. HMH’s first-quarter results came in just about where analysts had expected, and while executives reaffirmed financial projections for the full year, investors appear to believe the largely educational publisher still has work to do to significantly improve its financial performance. Barnes Noble was another company whose stock price took a sizable hit in 2017—it fell nearly 40% in the year—but despite more disappointing results in 2018, its stock price fell a modest 5.2%. (Following news of the firing of its CEO on July 3, BN’s stock price is now below $6.) EDC’s stock price rose by more than 80% in 2017, and it managed to hold onto most of the gain in the first six months of 2018, with its share price down 1.1% in the first half of the year.
Pearson’s stock price had the biggest increase in the first half of 2018, rising 18.1%. The company’s stock price, which has been battered for a number of years, benefited from a solid first quarter and a forecast from executives at the educational publisher who still expect Pearson to report a profit increase in 2018, its first earnings improvement in six years.
Since Amazon’s business has long since moved beyond books, the conglomerate was dropped from the PWSI at the beginning of the year, but PW still keeps an eye on its stock performance. For the first half of 2018, its share price rose by more than 45%, closing at just under $1,700 per share on June 29.
Stock Watch January-June, 2018Company Dec. 29, 2017 Jun. 29, 2018 % Change Pearson 9.82 11.60 18.1% Scholastic 40.11 44.31 10.5% LSC 15.15 15.66 3.4% Educational Dev. Corp. 18.95 18.75 -1.1% News Corp. 16.60 15.85 -4.5% CBS 59.00 56.22 -4.7% John Wiley 65.75 62.40 -5.1% Barnes Noble 6.70 6.35 -5.2% IDW Media 46.00 43.00 -6.5% Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 9.30 7.65 -17.7% BN Education 8.24 5.64 -31.5% Publishers Weekly Stock Index 295.62 287.43 -2.8% Dow Jones Average 24,719.22 24,271.41 -1.8%