Tribune Company reported a $79 million fourth-quarter loss and sharply lower revenues yesterday and said it may have to sell assets because its position has deteriorated faster than it expected. Papers also report that barons including Rupert Murdoch, Mort Zuckerman, and Cablevision’s beloved Dolan family are in talks about purchasing Newsday, something that could bring about $400 million dollars.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Trib revenues were down 7 percent from a year ago.

We’re shocked, shocked!

The WSJ on C6 reports that a Penn State study finds that Wall Street analysts routinely overestimate companies’ future earnings, something researchers say reflects bias “by their employers, who want them to hype stocks so that the brokerage house can garner trading commissions and win underwriting deals.”

The report, which examined analysts’ long-term (three to five years) and one-year per-share earnings expectations from 1984 through 2006 found that companies’ long-term earnings growth surpassed analysts’ expectations in only two instances, and those came right after recessions.

Over the entire time period, analysts’ long-term forecast earnings-per-share growth averaged 14.7%, compared with actual growth of 9.1%. One-year per-share earnings expectations were slightly more accurate: The average forecast was for 13.8% growth and the average actual growth rate was 9.8%.

Unemployment: the next big thing

In economic news, first-time unemployment claims jumped last week by 22,000 to 378,000, the highest in two and a half years.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.