Cable Stocks Plunge As Dow Drops 430 Points

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 430 points on Wednesday, as banking and insurance stocks tanked and media stocks cratered.

The Dow finished the day under 8,000 points (7,997.28) for the first time since March 2003, as new evidence of housing weakness and continued frustrations in the financial markets sent shares southward.

In the cable systems sector, nothing and no one was spared. Comcast led the decliners, down $1.65 per share (10.7%) to $13.77 each, followed by Cablevision Systems (down 9.6% or $1.31 per share) to $12.28 each. Charter Communications finished the day at 21 cents per share (a new 52-week low), down 6 cents each (21.4%) and Time Warner Cable dipped $1.50 per share (7.7%) to $17.99 per share. Mediacom Communications ended the day at $2.70 each (down 59 cents or 17.9%), another 52-week low.

Satellite TV stocks were pummeled as well, with Dish Network dipping 8.6% (91 cents each) to $9.62, a new 52-week low. DirecTV fell 6.9% (1.40 each) to $18.97 per share.

The programming sector, hammered over the past few months on fears of declines in the advertising market, saw more of the same on Wednesday. News Corp., was down 4.8% (33 cents) to $6.55 per share; Viacom dropped 8.8% ($1.44 each) to $15.02 per share; Time Warner Inc. was down 3% (26 cents) to $8.14 per share; and The Walt Disney Co., fell 3.5% (73 cents) to $19.94.

Rounding out the sector, Crown Media was down 12 cents (5.2%) to $2.21; Outdoor Channel Holdings fell 5 cents (15) to $5.33 each. Only two stocks in the programming sector showed gains—Scripps Networks Interactive, up 52 cents (2.2%) to $24.40 and ValueVision Media, up 5.5% (3 cents each) to 57 cents per share.  

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