Gannett Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of newspaper magnate Gannett (NYS: GCI) were rocking and rolling today, gaining as much as 13% in intraday trading after the stock's rating was boosted by Lazard (NYS: LAZ) .

So what: An analyst at Lazard gave Gannett a big thumbs-up today, upping the stock's rating from neutral to buy. Dividend investors in particular will appreciate Lazard's view, as it focused on the potential for a big dividend hike thanks to hefty cash flow.

Also today, Citigroup (NYS: C) noted that the National Association of Newspapers provided a better outlook than had been expected. Gannett was joined in gains by New York Times Co. (NYS: NYT) and McClatchy (NYS: MNI) , both of which were rallying more than the broader market.

Now what: Mr. Market loves analyst actions. When a stock gets elevated to a buy, he goes bananas, buying as much as he can. When it gets downgraded to sell? Then he can't hit the sell button fast enough. It's important to remember that while Wall Street analysts' views can be interesting data points, and perhaps give a reason to take another look at a stock, in the end they're just one person's view on the stock. An analyst upgrade (or downgrade) doesn't change the underlying fundamentals at the company.

Foolish investors could use the Lazard upgrade as an excuse to tune into Gannett, but they'd be wise to dig in and make their own assessment of the fundamentals before investing.

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