Dow Plunges 443 Points

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 443 points Thursday, its second straight day of triple-digit declines, as evidence of further troubles in the auto industry and the retail sector sent investors for the exits.

The Dow finished the day at 8,695.79, down 443.48 points, or about 4.9%. The drop comes a day after a 486-point plunge Wednesday in the index and marked its worst two-day point decline (929 points) ever.

Cable stocks were all down, but as in previous sessions, it could have been worse.

Cablevision Systems, after announcing that it was not actively seeking strategic alternatives to boost shareholder value, was down as much as 13% ($2.31 per share) in earlier trading Thursday, but rallied later in the day to close at $16.20 per share, down 73 cents each (4.3%). Time Warner Cable lost the most ground among cable systems operators, falling $1.04 each (5.2%) to $18.86. Rounding out the sector, Comcast dipped 20 cents each (1.2%) to $16.70 per share; Charter Communications fell 3 cents (7%) to 49 cents per share and Mediacom Communications dipped 11 cents (2.7%) to $3.94 per share.

Satellite TV stocks were in the same boat—Dish Network fell 71 cents (4.5%) to $15.05 and DirecTV Group dipped 4 cents per share (0.2%) to $20.76 per share.

Programmers, hit hard as the advertising market slumps, were battered on Thursday. News Corp., which reported sluggish fiscal first quarter earnings on Wednesday night, was down 16.3% ($1.62 per share) to $8.31 each and The Walt Disney Co., fell 5.9% ($1.42 each) to $22.81 per share. Viacom, which reported its third quarter results on Monday, fell 4.9% ($1.03 per share) to $19.88 each and Time Warner Inc., fell 60 cents (5.9%) to $9.55 per share.     

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