Market Drops 514 Points

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In what is becoming an all too common occurrence over the past few weeks, the stock market was down precipitously Wednesday after opening the week to big gains as investors retreated in the wake of disappointing earnings results.

The Dow Jones industrial average, battered over past few weeks as the nation sinks deeper into a recession, lost 514 points Wednesday to close at 8,519.21 as disappointing earnings from several of its components like AT&T, Boeing and Merck continued to depress the market.

It was the second consecutive day of losses—the market dipped 231 points Tuesday, after a more than 400-point gain on Oct. 20.

Cable stocks, which appeared to have reached a bottom in the past several days, maintaining their value as the market continued to decline, couldn’t hold out on Wednesday, with all of the major cable operators showing declines.

Leading the percentage decliners was Mediacom Communications, which fell 15.2% (66 cents each) to $3.69 per share, followed by Charter Communications, down 9.25 (4 cents) to 42 cents each; Cablevision Systems, down 9.1% ($1.63) to $16.33; Comcast down 7.6% ($1.16) to $14.20 per share; and Time Warner Cable, down 5.9% ($1.20) to $19.26 per share.

Satellite stocks were hammered as well, with DirecTV Group shedding 9.2% ($2.04) to close at $20.16 per share. Dish Network fared better, dipping 2.2% (36 cents) to $15.97 per share.

On the programming front, News Corp. fell 8.2% (77 cents) to $8.68 each, followed by Viacom, down 5.6% ($1.12) to $18.76; Time Warner Inc., down 7.3% (76 cents) to $9.61 per share; Scripps Networks Interactive, down 9% ($2.62 ) to $26.66 each; Outdoor Channel Holdings, down 13.4% ($1.08) to $6.96; and The Walt Disney Co., down 8.9% ($2.26) to $23.05 per share.