Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) shares spiked by nearly 40% in heavy trading Thursday as the nation’s largest newspaper company led a rally of the battered newspaper sector.
Gannett closed at $3.75, up $1.06 or 39.4%. More than 15.7 million shares traded hands, more than double its average daily volume of 7.2 million over the past three months.
Some of the optimism may have been stoked by the disclosure in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Chicago-based Ariel Capital Management had bulked up its stake in Gannett to 12.5% of outstanding shares from 4.8% at the end of 2008. Ariel-affiliated mutual funds reported last Dec. 31 that they held an additional total stake of about 7.25%.
It’s a measure of how far Gannett stock has fallen along with other newspaper companies, however, that its share price is still down nearly 90% from its 52-week high of $31.14.
Gannett’s big gain came on a day when newspaper stocks soared along with the broader market. The Dow closed up 246 points on rallying financial stocks buoyed by news that Wells Fargo had better-than-expected first quarter results.
The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) jumped 11.98% on a 58-cent increase to $5.42.