updated 4/13/2004 9:18:20 AM ET 2004-04-13T13:18:20

Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, reported Tuesday that its net income for the first quarter fell 73 percent from a year ago, when it recorded a large non-cash gain.

Revenue rose 12 percent in the period due partly to an improving advertising climate, but the company still said that advertising remained far below normal levels and that the company would keep a careful eye on costs.

Dow Jones, which also publishes Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires, earned $17.8 million, or 22 cents per share, in the three months ending March 31, down from $66.9 million, or 82 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding the effect of an accounting gain in the year-ago period and other one-time items, earnings rose to $18.1 million in the most recent quarter versus $9.7 million a year ago. Per-share earnings rose to 22 cents versus 12 cents, beating the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson First Call by 2 cents.

Peter Kann, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that while Dow Jones was pleased with the progress it had made during the quarter, “ad levels and therefore revenue and profit remain well below normal levels,” meaning the company will remain “committed to controlling everything we can” to maximize its performance.

Revenue rose to $401.6 million from $358.2 million in the same period a year ago. Leading the gain was a 6 percent increase in advertising linage, or volume, at the Journal.

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