Stock markets grappled with the worst day they’ve had so far in 2012 after a Federal Reserve report suggested that the central bank won’t continue to boost the economy by aggressively buying bonds. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index was down 1.3% in late afternoon trading, slightly worse than the Dow Jones Industrial Average which was -0.9%. All Big Media stocks were down. Sony, -3.7%, was hit hardest followed by CBS (-2.8%), News Corp (-2.4%), Viacom (-1.6%), Time Warner (-1.4%), Comcast (-1.2%), and Disney (-0.9%). Other media companies down at least 3% include Pandora, Crown Media, Imax, A.H. Belo, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and TiVo. Only a few companies were up including exhibition companies Cinedigm (+1.8%), Marcus (+1.6%), Cinemark (+0.2%), and Carmike (+0.1%). The companies benefited from a growing optimism about the movie business this year following the 23.6% increase in box office sales in the first quarter vs the same period last year. The top performing media company was New Frontier: The pay TV porn provider said last night that it has hired investment bank Avondale Partners to consider strategic options as it evaluates competing takeover bids.

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