UPDATE, 1:30 PM: Fear that the economy may be headed back into recession seemed to grow in the last hour of trading. The Dow ended the day -4.3% at 11,383.68. It was the biggest single-day drop since Oct. 22, 2008 and took the Dow below where it was at the beginning of 2011. Similarly, the S&P 500 was -4.8% and NASDAQ was -5.1%.
Although most media companies remain well ahead of where they were a year ago, today’s losses still look ugly. CBS, down 9.3%, was the hardest-hit infotainment giant. Here’s how the other Big Guns fared: News Corp -6.7%, Sony -6.5%, Disney -5.6%, Time Warner -4.6%, Comcast -4.3%, and Viacom -3.4%.
Among other media companies, Comscore finished -38.3% and Westwood One was -13.2%. Sinclair Broadcasting and McClatchy each lost more than 9%. Cinedigm, Live Nation, TiVo, and Liberty Media fell at least 8%. And Yahoo, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, The New York Times Company, Coinstar, and Dish Network lost at least 7%. Even World Wrestling Entertainment, which had been up earlier in the day, closed -1.4%.
The only company in the sector that gained ground today was Pandora Media. It ended +1.6% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch initiated coverage with a “buy” recommendation.
PREVIOUS, 11:52 AM: Investors are kicking the crap out of media and entertainment stocks today concerned about weak economic news from the U.S. and abroad. Among the big guns in mid-afternoon trading: CBS is -6.9%, Sony is -5.5%, News Corp is -5.2%, Disney is -4.4%, Time Warner and Viacom are both -3.5%, and Comcast is -3.4%. Comscore is the biggest media-industry loser: Its shares are -31.4% on the day after it reported a 2Q loss. Sinclair Broadcasting and Westwood One are off more than 8%, while Live Nation, The New York Times Company and TiVo are down more than 7%.
Only one company on our watch list is up today: World Wrestling Entertainment shares appreciated 1.8% after the company reported better than expected 2Q earnings.
With about an hour left in the trading day, the most common barometers for the overall market — the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 — are -3.2%, while NASDAQ is -3.4%.