Investor visions of big tax cuts and megamergers helped media stocks in Q1, with most beating the overall market in the three-month period that ended today.
The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 9.4% in quarter, while the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 5.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average appreciated 4.6%.
Viacom benefited from CEO Bob Bakish’s turnaround efforts: Its share price rose 32.8%, making up some of the ground it lost in 2016. Sony came next in the Big Media pack with its stock up 20.4%. It was followed by Fox (+15.5%),CBS (+9%), Comcast (+8.9%), Disney (+8.8%), and Discovery (+6.1%).
Time Warner appreciated 1.2%, but its stock is pretty much tied to AT&T’s offer price in the $85 billion acquisition plan they announced last year.
Activision Blizzard (+38.1%) was the big winner in the rest of the sector as games led by World of Warcraft and Overwatch helped to drive better-than-expected results for Q4.
Hasbro was up 28.3%, but Lionsgate was down 1.3%
Apple (+24%) led the tech powers, followed by Facebook (+23.5%), Yahoo (+20%), Netflix (+19.4%) and Amazon (+18.2%).
Buyers salivated over the likelihood that new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will approve TV station mergers: Sinclair was up 21.4%, edging out Tegna (+19.8%), Nexstar (+10.8%) and Tribune Media (+6.5%).
Exhibition companies were mixed. Cinemark (+15.6%) led, followed by Regal (+9.6%), and Imax (+8.1%). Industry leader AMC Entertainment lost ground (-6.7%) as did National CineMedia (-14.3%)
Pay TV distribution companies held their own with Charter Communications +13.7%, Altice +12.6% and Dish Network +9.6%.
The quarter’s biggest losers in the sector were comScore (-31.4%) and Barnes & Noble (-17.5%).
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