Cable Stocks Swoon in Broad-Based Selloff

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After weathering the Wall Street storm for most of the week, cable stocks felt the full brunt of an unforgiving market on Wednesday, with all of the publicly traded cable operators showing declines after the Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 450 points.

Time Warner Cable was hit hardest, dropping $1.81 per share (6.8%) to $24.89 on Wednesday, followed by Comcast, which dipped $1.07 each (5.2%) to $19.47 per share. Rounding out the sector was Cablevision Systems (down 41 cents each to $25.88); Mediacom Communications (down 62 cents to $6.39) and Charter Communications (down 9 cents to 82 cents per share).

Satellite TV providers shared in the pain, with Dish Network dropping $1.48 each (5.6%) to $24.86 and DirecTV Group falling $1.47 each (5.6%) to $24.82 per share.

The Dow closed at 10,609.66, down 449.4 points on Wednesday. For the week, the Dow has plummeted more than 800 points, as turmoil in the financial sector has reshaped the market.

Cable operator stocks had weathered the past few days relatively well. But the pressure apparently became too great Wednesday, as all of the Dow’s 30 components reported declines as investors questioned whether the latest government bailout—the $85 billion takeover of insurer AIG—would be enough to right the faltering credit markets.

Programmers were hit even harder—News Corp. (down 78 cents to $12.78), Viacom (down $1.18 to $24.52 and CBS (down 95 cents to $15.05) all hit new 52-week lows on Wednesday.

Rounding out that sector was Scripps Networks Interactive (down $2.25 each to $39.16); The Walt Disney Co. (down 32 cents to $32.19); Crown Media Holdings (down 17 cents to $4.42); Outdoor Channel (down 23 cents to $7.84); Liberty Interactive (down 40 cents to $13.48); Liberty Entertainment (down $1.57 each to $23.91) and Playboy Enterprises (down 26 cents to $3.77). 

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