Pay TV stocks weren’t spared in Thursday’s overall market decline, sparked by investor fears over a looming trade war with China and possible ripple effects.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 23,957.89 on March 21, down 724.42 points or nearly 3%. It was the biggest single day decline since Feb. 8, when the market headed into correction territory for the first time in about two years. According to the Wall Street Journal, manufacturing, aluminum production and banking stock fell the most, spurred by tariffs proposed by President Trump.
Cable stocks were mixed, with recent issue WideOpenWest falling nearly 5% (36 cents) to $7.33 each. Investors remained skittish of distribution stocks – Comcast shares were down 3.7% ($1.26) to $33.23; Altice USA fell 3.3% (65 cents) to $19.28 per share and Cable One was down 1% ($7.45) to $686 per share – as concerns over cord cutting remained. Charter Communications finished the day down less than 1% ($2.50 each) to $322.97 per share, but the stock is down about 15% since Feb. 2, driven by continued pressure from OTT companies and concerns that 5G wireless will erode cable’s broadband dominance, according to pivotal Research Group CEO and senior media & communications analyst Jeff Wlodarczak.
Satellite TV service provider Dish Network closed at $37.77 per share, down 3.3% or $1.29 each.
On the telco side, AT&T was down 1.8% (63 cents) to $35.37 each and Verizon Communications dipped less than 1% (40 cents) to $46.88 per share Thursday.
On the programming side, Discovery was down 2.9% (64 cents) to $21.52; Viacom fell 2.1% (67 cents) to $30.63 and Disney was down 1.2% ($1.22) to $100.60 per share. AMC Networks and Fox were basically unscathed, falling less than 1% for the day to $49.64 each (down 40 cents) and $36.75 per share (down 11 cents), respectively.
Facebook stock continued to reel in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, falling 2.7% ($4.50) to $164.89 per share. The stock is down 11% since Monday. Other FAANG stocks also were down – Google was down 3.8% ($41.80) to $1,049.08; Netflix dipped 3.1% ($9.78) to $306.70; Amazon fell 2.3% ($36.94) to $1,544.92; and Apple dropped 1.4% ($2.42 each) to $165.85 per share.