Cable Has Another Bad Day

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After Wednesday’s slight reprieve—the Dow Jones industrial average was down just 20 points—investors headed for the exits again on Thursday, sending the Dow into a 350-point tailspin and taking the cable sector along for the ride.

The Dow fell 348.22 points on Thursday, closing at 10,482.85 as investors were spooked as jobless claims hit a seven-year high and factory orders plunged—fueling fears that the country is headed for a deep recession.

For cable stocks, the pain continued.

Cablevision Systems had the biggest drop, falling 9.9% ($2.46 per share) to $22.52 each; followed by Time Warner Cable, which shed $1.59 per share (6.7%) to $22.25. The market malaise has nearly erased the more than 50% run-up in Cablevision stock triggered on July 31 when CEO James Dolan said the company would search for ways to close the public and private valuation gap in the stock.

At Thursday’s close, Cablevision shares were just $1 above the $21.25 per share the stock was priced on July 30.

Rounding out the sector, Comcast fell $1 per share (5.2%) to $18.35 each; Mediacom Communications dipped 17 cents each (3%) to $5.64 per share and Charter Communications declined 1 cent each (1.5%) to 68 cents per share.

Satellite TV stocks didn’t escape the carnage—Dish Network fell $1.26 each (6.1%) to $19.43 per share and DirecTV dipped 83 cents each (3.2%) to $24.99. Dish, which lost a distribution agreement with AT&T last Friday, is down about 19% since the beginning of the week.

Programmers, which have been hit hard as investors bailed because of their dependency on the volatile advertising market, continued to decline on Thursday. News Corp. fell 70 cents (5.8%) to $11.38 per share; Viacom was down 93 cents (3.7%) to $24.13 and The Walt Disney Co. fell 72 cents each (2.4%) to $29.86 per share.