News Corp.'s stock rose more than 1 percent on Tuesday, inching up to where it was before the company's now infamous phone hacking scandal made headlines even as the British Parliament released new documents related to the controversy.
The stock gained 23 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $17.14 on Tuesday even as the broader market experienced declines, according to The Associated Press. However, the stock is still down from its pre-scandal close of $18.13 on July 5.
The market appeared to ignore media reports that said a UK panel is investigating a possible cover-up in connection with the phone hacking scandal. The scandal, which erupted in early July after it was revealed that reporters at the now defunct News of the World tabloid had hacked into the voicemail of a murdered teenage girl, has outraged the British public and caused the company to drop its $12 billion bid to purchase British Sky Broadcasting.
On Tuesday, the British newspaper The Guardian published a 2007 letter from ex-News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman, which claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at the publication's editorial meetings until former editor Andy Coulson forbade employees from making further references to the practice.
Goodman was arrested and jailed for intercepting the cell phone messages of members of England's royal family and subsequently fired from News of the World in 2007. Executives at News International claim the phone hacking was limited and said Goodman was a "rogue reporter."
"Tom Crone and the editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea," Goodman wrote, adding that the paper did not honor its promise.
If true, Goodman's allegations could be particularly troubling for Prime Minister David Cameron, who hired Coulson as his director of communications in 2007, four months after his resignation from News of the World. Coulson has repeatedly gone on record denying there was a culture of phone hacking at the newspaper and testified to that effect when he was called as a witness before Parliament in a 2010 criminal trial.
Although James Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp. and son of CEO Rupert Murdoch, denied having any knowledge of the hacking, his claim has reportedly been disputed by former company lawyer Tom Crone. In a letter to Parliament, Crone wrote that in 2008 he informed the younger Murdoch of an email that indicated several journalists aside from Goodman were hacking into cell phone voice messaging systems. Crone's statement was backed up by former News of the World editor Colin Myler.
Still, last week News. Corp reported adjusted earnings of 35 cents per share for the latest quarter, surpassing the 30 cents expected by analysts. In addition, revenue grew 11 percent to $8.96 billion and company stocks have increased 25 percent since the quarterly results were released.
Alan Gold, an analyst with Evercore Partners, told the AP that analysts were heartened by a conference call with Rupert Murdoch, where he gave his personal assurance that at least $5 billion would be returned to shareholders in the form of share buybacks.
"He sounded very good and very strong last week," Gould told the media outlet. "It was a very different sounding Rupert on the conference call than it was Rupert in front of Parliament."