We've given a break to Lee Enterprises, parent company of the Racine Journal Times, in recent weeks, as the stock market has pummeled its stock.
It's been up and down: In July and August, it closed below $3 a share -- bad -- only to recover to $4 -- good. The company declared its regular dividend -- good -- but various investment funds divested their shares -- bad. Various Lee papers have been shedding staff -- most notably its Montana operations these days -- and others have been cutting newshole; the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, Lee's flagship in the state, just yesterday announced it would reduce the number of sections printed daily.
More bad news came today. After the market closed, with the stock up 13 cents to $3.36 per share, Standard and Poor's dropped LEE from its S&P Midcap 400 index. Lee's market cap -- the total value of its shares -- is at $151 million, putting the company 400th in the listing. The change -- LEE will be replaced by United Therapeutics Corp. (UTHR), market cap $2.48 billion -- will take place after the close of trading Friday, and may further decrease demand for the stock, as investors and funds who buy the index divest.
Quite a comedown from Lee's $2.2 billion market cap back in 2004 before it bought Pulitzer newspapers for $1.46 billion. Ah, those were the days.