Dow Jones Rally Lifts Cable

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A rally in bank stocks helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 246 points on Thursday, and cable operators went along for the ride.

The Dow finished the day at 8,083.38, up 246.27 points. Fueling the rally was an announcement by Wells Fargo that it expects record profits in the first quarter and that its merger with Wachovia is going better than expected. Wells Fargo shares leaped 32% Thursday and took many banking stocks along with it: Bank of America rose 35%, while J.P. Morgan Chase was up 19%, among others risers.

On the cable side, the rally wasn't as dramatic but was good news just the same.

Cablevision led the pack, rising 8.6% ($1.31 per share) to $16.58 each, and was followed by Mediacom Communications, up 7.9% (36 cents) to $4.93 each. Time Warner Cable rose 3.2% (87 cents) to $27.72 each, while Comcast was up 2.5% (36 cents each) to $14.62 per share, rounding out the sector.

No. 2 satellite TV service provider Dish Network also had a strong day, rising 8.7% ($1.09 each) to $13.68 per share. DBS leader DirecTV was up 1% (25 cents) to $24.26 per share.

On the programmer side, Scripps Networks Interactive increased 4% (99 cents) to $25.92 each, followed by News Corp., up 6.1% (50 cents) to $8.73 per share; the Walt Disney Co., ahead 2.7% (52 cents) to $19.88 each; Viacom, a 2.3% increase (45 cents) to $20.38 per share; and Time Warner Inc., a 1.5% gain (32 cents) to $22.24 each.

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