Media and entertainment stocks sank Monday as the market shrugged off both a long awaited stimulus package that included $15 billion for arts and culture and the global march of vaccinations, focusing instead, and again, on virus fears after health officials in Britain revealed a new strain of the coronavirus said to be 70% more transmittable.
That triggered lockdown orders in London and travel restrictions across Europe, threatening commerce and trade. Stocks plunged in Asia overnight and then in Europe, segueing to losses Stateside where the DJIA was down 140 points, or 0.46% — off its lows — and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, had fallen respectively by 1.08% and 0.95% midday.
The fate of that elusive, desperately needed aid package had kept stocks volatile for weeks as lawmakers squabbled. Today it’s set to be signed and sealed with provisions for movie theaters and live entertainment, extended paycheck protection and enhanced federal unemployment benefits that will help producers and many others across the entertainment industry. So what would logically have been a nice market bump today for the stocks was shaping up to be a downer instead.
Media and entertainment was in the red across sectors from exhibition and broadcasting to conglomerates and even tech.
Disney, Netflix, Comcast and ViacomCBS are down, respectively, 1.13%, 1.59%, 1.69% and 2.04%.
The biggest theater chains saw AMC Entertainment down 3.75%, Cinemark, off 3.9% and Imax down 3.8%. The group is struggling with theaters closed or at reduced capacity and Covid-19 continuing to roil moviegoing even as global vaccine rollout underway promises better days. Just how hard it is for the industry to get its footing was hit home over the weekend with a lackluster performance by Warner Bros. Wonder Woman 1948. The hoped for blockbuster opened in 32 international markets to an estimated $38.5 million from 30,221 screens, Deadline reported, well below the $60 million the industry was expecting. Its China debut of $18.8 million was soft.
WarnerMedia parent AT&T was off 1.4%.
Meanwhile, Twitter was down 2.68%, Facebook off 1.62%, Google softer by 0.64% and Apple by 1.32%. Tech has sustained the market with strong gains for most of the year although the group has been hit in recent weeks and months by antitrust suits from states and government regulators, inquiries here and abroad and private lawsuits. Facebook and Apple have also been squabbling publicly.
Amazon nosed higher by 0.13%.
Among heavyweights, Roku was a real standout in this down market, jumping nearly 5%. Shares have been on a tear since last week when it reached a deal to add HBO Max to its platform.
Also of note, sports-first live-TV streaming service Fubo surged 22% Monday. Fubo is still a fraction of the size of larger internet bundles like Hulu or YouTube but it has surpassed subscriber targets and is considered the choice of sports fans who cut the traditional cable/satellite cord. The stock’s doubled in the past month as it’s getting greater visibility on Wall Street, helped by CEO David Gandler who appeared on a Wall Street podcast Friday, hinting that live sports events could at some point be exclusive to the service.