Cable Stocks Stumble in Dow Debacle

Shares slide with the rest of the market, but a few names shine bright

Fears over higher interest rates and continued political uncertainty forced the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 650 points Friday, capping its worst week in two years, and cable stocks were not spared in the carnage.

The Dow closed at 25,520.96 on Friday, down more than 665 points or about 2.5%. For the week, the Blue Chip index was down almost 1,100 points or about 4%. Talk of rising wages in the strong economy, which some interpreted as a sign of rising inflation to come, also helped fuel the sell-off.

Every sector in the market was affected – healthcare and tech stocks appeared to be hit the hardest, with losses in those sectors ranging from 48% to 20%. Cable’s fall wasn’t nearly as hard – the biggest drop was at CBS, which fell 6% ($3.53 each) to $55.40 per share. And that may have been more due to its board of directors announcing Thursday that it is revisiting a merger with former corporate sister Viacom than market jitters.

At the end of the day of about 25 stocks in the sector, 19 showed declines, ranging from CBS’ 6% decline (with Discovery Communications close behind at -5.8%), to a 0.3% dip (25 cents per share) for Time Warner Inc.

Other big losers were Lionsgate Entertainment (down 3.3%) and Viacom (down 3%). On the tech side, Google fell 4.8% ($55.80 each) to $1,111.96 and Apple was down 4.3% ($7.28) to $160.50 per share. Among the bigger programming names, The Walt Disney Co. was down 1.6%and 21st Century Fox fell about 1%. There were some bright spots too. Charter Communications, which reported strong Q4 earnings earlier in the day, was up 4.4% ($16.32 each) to $387.50 per share. Other gainers included Liberty Global (up 3.5%), Amazon (up 2.9%); MSG Networks (1.2%); Netflix (up 1%) and Formula One Group (up 0.1%).