Cable Stock Rally Muted


The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 165 points Friday amid renewed economic optimism, but cable stocks, already up strongly in the past few weeks, rose only slightly for the day.
The Dow closed at 8,574.65, up 164.8 points, its highest close since Jan. 9. Leading the surge was better than expected job loss data - non-farm payrolls fell 539,000 in April, better than the expected loss of 610,000 - and data that 10 of 19 banks will need additional capital following a round of government "stress tests,: short of the worst-case scenario many investors feared.
While that news sent some stocks up sharply - American Express rose 10% for the day - cable stocks had a more muted rally.
Leading the percentage gainers Friday for MSOs was Mediacom Communications, up 37 cents (7.3%) to $5.46 each, followed by Time Warner Cable, which rose $1.09 per share (3.1%) to $35.82. The rest of the sector saw minimal gains - Comcast rose 6 cents each (0.4%) to $15.75 per share and Cablevision, which said Thursday it would explore alternatives for its Madison Square Garden businesses, gained 31 cents (1.6%) to end the day at $19.46 per share.
Om the programming side, the gains were modest. News Corp. led the pack with a 31% rise (33 cents) to $11.10 per share, followed by Viacom, up 2.5% or 56 cents, to $23.09. Rounding out the sector Scripps Networks Interactive rose 2.3% (67 cents) to $30.43 each; Time Warner Inc. was up 1.9% (46 cents) to $25.20; Discovery Communications gained 1% (18 cents) to $20.27 per share; and The Walt Disney Co. was up 13 cents (0.5%) to $25.46 per share. Crown Media, which announced earlier this week that its CEO was stepping down at the end of the month,  was the only stock to lose ground, closing at $2.95 per share on Friday, down 4 cents each or 1.3%.
Despite the tepid Friday performance, cable stocks have risen strongly in the past few weeks, riding a wave of strong earnings. Between April 27 - the week the cable earnings season kicked off - and May 8, MSO stocks were up 24% and programmer stocks rose 18%.