Media Stocks Stage Comeback After Rocky Trading Day

By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Dade Hayes

Media and tech stocks staged a comeback in late trading Thursday, after swooning along with the Dow Jones Industrial Average as Wall Street nears the end of a particularly volatile December.

The blue-chip index swung 850 points on the day, dropping as much as 600 points in trading before putting on a late burst to finish up 260 at 23,138.82. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 similarly recovered in the final hour or two of trading to finish fractionally positive. The roller-coaster session came a day after the Dow industrials surged more than 1,000 points for the first time in a single session.

In terms of net gains or losses, movement was limited, but the intraday action was dramatic. Netflix stock dipped to a low of $240.39 a share in trading, before bouncing back to close at $255.57 — a swing of about 6%. Disney experienced similar fluctuations, with the stock sagging to $100.55 in midday before rallying to close at $106.52.

WarnerMedia parent AT&T ended the day in positive territory, as did Comcast. CBS ended the trading day where it started, at $43.37 a share. The biggest loser in the sector was AMC Entertainment, which fell nearly 4% to $12.20, with fellow exhibition stocks Cinemark and National CineMedia booking losses of almost 3% apiece.

Viacom closed down 1% to $25.89; Discovery lost 3% to close at $24.78 a share.

All three major stock indices are down more than 10% in December, amid concerns about a the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, slumping oil prices and trade tensions with China. The Dow and S&P are on the cusp of bear territory, off 8% and nearly 11%, respectively. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which is off 19% this month and 8% in 2018 to date, is the first of the major markets to officially enter a bear market.

The volatility prompted CNBC to mobilize a special report — Markets in Turmoil — that will air from 6PM to 7PM ET tonight.

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