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Hurriyet Tumbles Most in 3 Weeks on Poll Outcome: Istanbul Mover

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Hurriyet Gazetecilik ve Matbaacilik AS, publisher of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, fell the most in more than three weeks as investors bet parent Dogan will face consequences for its perceived anti-government stance.

Shares of Hurriyet slumped 3.4 percent, the most since March 7, to 0.57 lira at the close in Istanbul. About 1.5 million shares traded, 80 percent of the three-month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Borsa Istanbul National 100 index rose 0.9 percent, paring earlier gains of as much as 2 percent.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party won 46 percent of the vote in yesterday’s local elections, according to preliminary counts. The result comes amid a political crisis sparked by a corruption probe made public Dec. 17, which Erdogan says is an attempted coup against him by followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan this month said the Dogan group was among media defending the “injustices” against his government.

“The market is pricing political risk,” Emir Bolen, an analyst at Global Securities in Istanbul, said by phone. “Investors think the group is following an anti-government line, so they expect developments that could trouble the company.”

Bolen has a neutral recommendation on the shares, with a 12-month price estimate of 0.8 lira, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Hurriyet’s investor relations department declined to comment when contacted by phone.

Dogan Yayin Holding AS, the majority owner of Hurriyet, was given a $3.8 billion tax levy in 2009 after its newspapers got embroiled in a row with the government over coverage of a corruption scandal that involved an Islamic charity in Germany. The government said the levy resulted from a routine inspection.

Istanbul-based Hurriyet reported a 61.1 million lira loss ($29 million) last year after a profit of 150.7 million liras in 2012. The shares have retreated 17 percent since Dec. 17, compared with a 6.8 percent decline in the benchmark index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Samuel Potter at spotter33@bloomberg.net Zahra Hankir

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