Consolidation talk was everywhere today, and investors believe that there’s something to it. Following reports this AM that Comcast and Charter Communications are weighing individual bids for Time Warner Cable, Bloomberg says that the potential buyers have also discussed the possibility of jointly going after the No. 2 cable operator — and then divvying up its systems. For example, it might make sense for Charter to take Time Warner Cable‘s properties in Los Angeles while Comcast could take the prized system in Manhattan. That could solve a lot of problems for the companies: Comcast might be able to grow without alarming the federal regulators that it would become too big. And Charter, which is much smaller, could scratch its itch to become a major industry power without having to take on an onerous amount of debt. All of this talk provided a jolt to cable stocks on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 16,065. The 0.3% uptick vs yesterday pales next to the changes at Time Warner Cable (+10%), Charter (+6.1%), Cablevision (+5.9%), Comcast (+4.4%) — and even satellite companies Dish Network (+4.2%) and DirecTV (+3.3%).

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