Dow Takes A 376-Point Dive


The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 376 points Thursday and took the cable sector right along with it, as higher than expected unemployment claims and uncertainty over stricter financial regulation sent investors to the exits.
The Dow, on a roller coaster ride during the day, finished at 10,068.1, down 376.36 points. Fueling investor fears was the ongoing battle in Congress over potential financial reform - the Senate on Wednesday rejected an effort by Democrats to complete work on a financial regulatory bill - and worse than expected unemployment figures. The Dept. of Labor said Thursday that unemployment claims during the week ended May 15 rose by 25,000 to 471,000. Analysts had been expecting a decline.
That all translated into a nasty day for Wall Street. And the cable sector was not unscathed.
Leading the decliners in the MSO sector was Cablevision Systems, which dipped 6.5% ($1.54 per share) to $22.22 and followed by Comcast, down 4.5% (79 cents) to $16.79; Time Warner Cable, down 4.4% ($2.26 each) to $48.93; and Mediacom Communications, down 4.3% (23 cents) to $5.16 per share.
Satellite stocks also took a hit, with Dish Network falling 6.1% ($1.34) to $20.81 per share and DirecTV dipping 3.3% ($1.26 each) to $36.53 per share.
Programming stocks, which had rode a brief wave of optimism after signs pointed to an advertising resurgence, were not spared Thursday. Liberty Capital had the biggest decline, falling 6.9% ($2.86 per share) to $38.45 each, followed by News Corp., down 5.3% (83 cents) to $14.96 per share. Rounding out the sector was Scripps Networks Interactive, down 4.7% ($2.15) to $43.20 each; Liberty Starz, down 4.3% ($2.34) to $52.66 each; the Walt Disney Co., down 4.2% ($1.40) to $31.99 each; Viacom, down 3.4% ($1.27) to $35.80 each; Discovery Communications, down 3.4% ($1.26) to $35.79 each; and Time Warner Inc., down 3.3% ($1.02) to $29.74 per share.