Earnings down at McClatchy Co.

The McClatchy Co. on Tuesday reported third-quarter earnings below those recorded for the same quarter in 2009, and company stock dipped nearly 8 percent on the news.

The Sacramento-based company and The Olympian parent reported net earnings of $12.1 million, or 14 cents per share, for the quarter. In 2009, McClatchy reported earnings of $23.6 million, or 28 cents per share.

In a news release, McClatchy Chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt noted that companywide advertising revenue trends “continued to improve in the third quarter with ad revenues down year-over-year by 6.4 percent compared to declines of 8.2 percent in the second quarter and 11.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010.”

He said classified ad revenue continued its improvement during the quarter, particularly in the automotive and employment categories.

A decline in ad revenues in September, Pruitt said, went against an improving trend and reflects “the uneven nature of the economic recovery.”

Digital advertising revenue grew by 1.6 percent in the quarter and represented 19 percent of the quarter’s advertising revenue, Pruitt said.

Local online audiences continued to grow, up 19.2 percent for the quarter, he said.

Company stock, which fell to $2.88 per share in Tuesday trading, rose to close at $3.15. The stock is down 11.02 percent in 2010, according to Bloomberg News.