Perhaps it’s due to profit taking ahead of earnings season. Or maybe investors became scared early this morning when Samsung said that it expects its Q2 earnings to come in far below analyst expectations due to weakening demand for its mobile products. Whatever the reason, or reasons, traders pummeled tech stocks today in the second day of declines after the market hit an all-time high last week. The tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 1.4% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was -0.7% to 16,907 after crossing the 17,000 mark for the first time last week. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index slipped 1.1%. Among the tech companies we watch, Pandora was -7.3% followed by Twitter (-7.0%), Facebook (-3.9%), Netflix (-3.4%), Amazon (-2.9%), Yahoo (-2.8%), and AOL (-2.5%).
The tech-heavy exchange fell 3.1% today to a two-month low as investors, fearful that the bull market for Internet and biotech companies has run its course, continued to shift their cash into more conservative investments. On NASDAQ’s worst day since 2011, the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.6%. Media stocks also felt the chill: The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.8%. All of the major companies we track lost ground. CBS (-3.8%) was hardest hit in Big Media followed by Time Warner (-3.7%), Disney (-3.7%), Sony (-3.6%), Viacom (-3.6%), Comcast (-2.8%), News Corp (-2.2%), Fox (-2.1%), and Discovery (-1.7%). In the rest of the sector companies licking their wounds include Pandora (-10.5%), WWE (-7.2%), Facebook (-5.2%), Netflix (-5.2%), Lionsgate (-4.8%), and RealD (-4.6%)
The tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 2.6% today, apparently reflecting fears that many companies — after soaring in 2013 — will report disappointing info on Q1 sales. The concern has been building: Netflix, for example, is down 25.7% over the past month. But it seemed to spread today, and soured the rest of the market with the Standard & Poor’s 500 -1.3% and the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index -1.7%. Viacom, down 2.8%, was the hardest hit Big Media company followed by Fox (-2.6%), Comcast (-1.8%), CBS (-1.7%), Disney (-1.5%), Discovery (-0.8%), Time Warner (-0.4%), and Sony (-0.3%). News Corp was the only gainer in the group, rising 0.1%. In the broader media universe, Barnes & Noble fell 5.4% — for an 18% drop in the two days since Liberty Media said it will sell 90% of its holdings in the book retailer. Tech-oriented media companies followed including Netflix (-4.9%), Pandora (-4.9%), Google (-4.7%), Facebook (-4.6%), Yahoo (-4.2%), RealD (-4%), and Amazon (-3.2%). Only a few media stocks appreciated. They include Madison Square Garden (+0.4%), which sold its Fuse TV network, and Scripps Networks (+0.5%) after Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan changed his recommendation to “buy” from “hold.”
The markets closed the books today on Q1 trading, and it began with a shrug for media stocks. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.4% over the three-month period, behind the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, which was +1.3%. Sony was the top-performing Big Media company, with shares +10.6%. It was trailed by Disney (+4.8%), Viacom (-2.7%), CBS (-3.0%), Comcast (-3.7%), News Corp (-4.4%), Time Warner (-6.3%) and Fox (-9.1%). There’s a much wider gap between the best and worst performers among other media companies we track most closely. World Wrestling Entertainment led the pack, helped by its launch of WWE Network, a $9.99 a month live streaming video service. Its shares appreciated 74.2% — followed by Barnes & Noble (+39.8%), RealD (+30.8%), and Cinedigm (+26.7%). At the bottom we find DreamWorks Animation (-25.2%), National CineMedia (-24.9%), and Sinclair Broadcasting (-24.2%).
Here’s how individual companies fared:
The industry couldn’t withstand the downdraft across the financial markets today as reports in China showed weaker-than-expected industrial growth and as Russian troops began military exercises near the border with Ukraine. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 1.4%, nearly matching the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and ahead of the 1.2% fall in the Standard & Poor’s 500. All of the Big Media companies we track lost ground. News Corp shares fell 2.8% followed by Fox (-1.8%), Disney (-1.8%), CBS (-1.4%), Viacom (-1.3%), Sony (-1.2%), Comcast (-1%) Discovery (-0.9%), and Time Warner (-0.9%). Biggest losers across media and entertainment included Sinclair (-4.9%), Scripps (-4.7%), Crown Media (-4.6%), DreamWorks Animation (-4.2%), and Lionsgate (-3.2%). Only a handful gained ground including exhibition companies AMC Entertainment (+2.5%) and Carmike (+0.8%); programmers Starz (+1.0%) and World Wrestling Entertainment (+0.3%); and Amazon (+0.2%), which announced today that it has raised the price of its Amazon Prime program for the first time in nine years.
Disappointing data about factory performance added to investor concerns about prospects for the economy as the Federal Reserve pulls back on its stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 2.7% today — ahead of a 2.3% drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 and 2.1% slide in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. All but a handful of the companies we track lost ground. CBS was hardest hit among Big Media, with shares off 4.1%. It was followed by Viacom (-4.0%), Disney (-3.6%), Sony (-3.2%), Comcast (-3.1%), Fox (-3.0%), News Corp (-2.8%), Discovery (-2.2%), and Time Warner (-2.1%). In the broader media universe, companies licking their wounds today include DreamWorks Animation (-7.4%), Lionsgate (-5.6%), IMAX (-5.4%), Starz (-5.3%), and AMC Networks (-4.7%). The few gainers include Cinedigm (+4.6%, touching a multiyear high during the day), AOL (+1.7%), Time Warner Cable (+0.6), and Apple (+0.2%).
The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell nearly 2% today as Wall Street dealt with the biggest single-day stock selloff it has seen since June. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.1% as investors bailed out of stocks and currencies from emerging markets including China, South Africa, and Turkey. All Big Media companies lost ground today with Disney (-2.8%) followed by Viacom (-2.5%), CBS (-2.2%), News Corp (-2.2%), Time Warner (-2.0%), Fox (-1.5%), Discovery (-1.4%), Comcast (-1.3%), and Sony (-0.4%). In the broader group of companies that we track, big losers included New York Times (-5.5%), DreamWorks Animation (-4.3%), Best Buy (-4.0%), Facebook (-3.9%), Yahoo (-3.8%), Google (-3.2%), and Pandora (-3.2%). Only a handful of companies advanced including SFX Entertainment (+2.7%), RealD (+0.8%), and Regal Entertainment (+0.5%). Two stocks that have been rising of late touched new 52-week highs during the day: AMC Entertainment (which closed +0.5%) and World Wrestling Entertainment (+0.4%).
Shares in the streaming video company appreciated 297.6% during the latest 12 months, well ahead of everyone in the companies we track — including media industry giants, where CBS (+67.5%) led the pack. But you shouldn’t hear many complaints. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 12.3% in Q4, and 47% for the entire year, as investors became increasingly comfortable about the prospects for information and entertainment companies in a period of strengthening ad sales, low interest rates, and prodigious stock repurchases and dividend payments. The sector was well ahead of the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, which was up 9.9% in Q4 and 29.6% for the year. Big Media companies will look back at the year fondly. After CBS, the top performers were Viacom (+65.6%), Sony (+54.4%), Disney (53.4%), Time Warner (+45.8%), Discovery (+42.4%), Comcast (+39.1%), and Fox (+37.9%). But lots of other companies did much better. Industry winners after Netflix include Best Buy (+236.5%), Pandora (+189.8%), Sinclair Broadcasting (+183.1%), DreamWorks Animation (+114.2%), and Live Nation (+112.2%). The year’s underperformers include RealD (-23.8%), Barnes & Noble (-0.9%), Apple (+5.4%), and TiVo (+6.6%).
Most Wall Street analysts, eager to sell stocks, pull their punches when faced with questions that might lead to uncomfortable conclusions. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger and MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson have proven their fearlessness over the years — which is why I was so pleased to see both out this morning with thoughtful reports that reach different conclusions about a key question: How much longer can the go-go period for media stocks last? Shares have been on a tear for the last three years largely because moguls stopped using cash to build empires choosing instead to slim down (as News Corp/Fox did, and Time Warner is doing, by unloading their publishing units and CBS is doing with its billboard ad business) and returning cash to shareholders. Stock buybacks in particular “have been enormous,” Nathanson says, with Viacom cutting the number of outstanding shares by 21% followed by Time Warner (-17%), Discovery (-16%), Scripps Networks (-12%), News Corp/Fox (-12%), CBS (-11%), and Disney (-6%).
Markets registered their best single-day gains this year as President Obama met with House Republicans this afternoon to see whether they can reach an agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and avoid a default. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the day +2.2% while NASDAQ was +2.3%. Media companies fared better with the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index +3%. Time Warner topped our Big Media list, hitting a 52-week high before closing +4.2%. It was followed by CBS (+4%), Disney (+3.1%), Comcast (+2.3%), News Corp (+2.1%), Fox (+2.1%), Liberty Media (+1.9%), and Viacom (+1.1%). Sony slid 0.9%. Other big winners today included Best Buy (+7.6%), Liberty Interactive (+7.2%), Time Warner Cable (+6.1%), and Netflix (+5.4%). The only big loser among noteworthy media companies was a newcomer: SFX Entertainment, entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman’s latest initiative which hopes to capitalize on electronic dance music. It went public this week at $13 a share but has fallen in its first two trading days — closing today at $11.20, -5.8%.
This was the quarter when Facebook left behind memories of its troubled IPO last year: As it reassured investors that it has a strategy to sell ads on mobile platforms, its shares closed Q3 at $50.23 — a 101.9% gain since the end of June. That’s the biggest jump on the list of media company stocks we track. The sector did well as the economy, and advertising, improved: The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index rose 8.3% beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.5%) and Standard & Poor’s 500 (+4.7%). Radio company Cumulus Media came in second in our group, rising 56%, followed by Netflix (+46.5%), Best Buy (+37.2%), Pandora (+36.6%), and Yahoo (+32%). Among Big Media companies, Viacom (+22.9%) saw the biggest improvement followed by Time Warner (13.8%), CBS (+12.9%), Comcast (+8.1%), Disney (+2.1%) and Sony (+1.7%). We left Fox and News Corp off the list for this quarter; their stocks were essentially brand new after Rupert Murdoch’s company split in two at the end of June. Companies that probably were glad to see the quarter end include 3D technology company RealD (-49.6%), Barnes & Noble (-19%), Rovi (-16.1%), and Outerwall — the parent of DVD rental kiosk owner Redbox — which was -14.7%.
Encouraging data about jobless claims, and the Federal Reserve’s signal that will continue its stimulus program by buying bonds, sent the markets to all-time highs today. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed +1.3% to nearly 1,707 — the first time it closed above 1,700. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average was +0.8 to 15,628. Media companies did even better as the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index ended the day +1.5%. Big Media companies were all up led by Sony (+4.4%) followed by CBS (3.9%), 21st Century Fox (2.5%), Viacom (2.2%), News Corp (+1.8%), Comcast (+1.7%), and Disney (+1.1%). CBS, Comcast, and Time Warner hit 52-week highs. Other winners in media included DreamWorks Animation (+8.8% following strong Q2 earnings), Starz (+7.4%), and Time Warner Cable (+3.2%). The handful of losers included The New York Times (-3.4%) and DirecTV (-2.0%) both on disappointing earnings reports.
Investors turned a cold shoulder to online video ad company Tremor Video in its first day in the market. Shares closed today at $8.50, down from the IPO price of $10. That was already less than it originally hoped to raise from the sale of 7.5M shares, with proceeds to help run the company. Many tech sector investors had their eye on Tremor, which accounted for about 4% of the $2.2B spent last year in the U.S. for in-stream, pre-roll online video ads. Although it’s in a hot business, Tremor is puny compared to YouTube, which has as much as a third of the market according to Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser. “We think there will be some value in being a number two or number three player in the sector, as foil to Google or as acquisition bait from other web publishers,” he says. Tremor lost $16.6M last year on revenues of $105.2M.
This was the market‘s worst day since 2011, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 -2.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.3%. Traders became jittery after Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke said that the economy might be strong enough for the agency to pull back on its purchase of bonds, part of its strategy to stimulate spending. Media companies felt the chill wind, with the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index falling 2.9%. Disney, -3.7%, was hardest hit among Big Media companies. It was followed by Comcast (-3.3%), CBS (-3.0%), News Corp (-3.0%), Time Warner, (-2.7%), Viacom (-2.4%), and Sony (-2.2%). Other media companies that suffered today include LIN TV (-6.6%), Cinemark (-5.0%), Pandora Media (-4.7), Sinclair Broadcast Group (-4.4%), Best Buy (-3.9%) and Netflix (-3.8%). The handful that gained ground today included RealD (+0.7%) and Carmike (+0.5%).
The Labor Department’s estimate that 175,000 people joined U.S. payrolls last month had something for everybody: It was strong enough to show that the economy is improving — but not sufficiently encouraging to exacerbate fears that the Federal Reserve might curtail its stimulus efforts. The market responded with the Standard & Poor’s 500 rising 1.3% for the biggest two-day rally this year. And media stocks recovered from a downdraft earlier this week; the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index appreciated 1.9% today to end the week +1.3%. Sony led the Big Media pack, with shares +3.2% today. It was followed by Disney (+2.7%), Comcast (+2.3%), Viacom (+2.3%), Time Warner (+2.2%), and News Corp (+1.1%). CBS was the only decliner, -1.7%.
Just about every major media company lost ground in the market today. Traders became concerned that the Federal Reserve Board might change course and buy fewer bonds — something it has been doing to stimulate the economy — even though a report showed lower-than-expected private-sector job growth in May. Media stock indexes fell about 2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 both slipped about 1.4%. Among Big Media companies, Sony took the biggest hit, falling 4.1%. It was followed by News Corp (-2.9%), Time Warner (-2.5%), Disney (-1.9%), CBS (-1.8%), Comcast (-1.8%), and Viacom (-1.5%). Other media companies taking big hits included McClatchy (-8%), Sinclair Broadcasting (-6%), Discovery Communications (–3.6%), Gannett (-3.6%), Barnes & Noble (-3.5%), RealD (-3.4%), Sirius XM (-3.2%), and National CineMedia (-3.1%). A few tech companies were up when the trading day closed. Their ranks included Amazon (+0.6%) and Google (+0.6%).
Wall Street remained in a cheery mood Friday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,395.76 — up just +0.5%, but still a new high. Investors were encouraged after the Labor Dept reported that the unemployment rate in February fell to 7.7% from 7.9%, the lowest its been in four years. And the good feelings spilled over to media companies. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index was up 1.2% to its highest level in in more than a decade as companies including CBS, Discovery, and Disney set new all-time highs. CBS (+2.3%) led the Big Media pack today followed by News Corp (+2.1%), Disney (+1.9%), Viacom (+1.7%), Time Warner (+1.2%), Comcast (+0.9%), and Sony (+0.3%). Among media companies generally, Pandora was up 17.6% after last night’s better-than-expected earnings report. Others up at least 3% include Best Buy (+4.7%), DreamWorks Animation (+4.0%), Rovi (+4.0%), and Cinedigm (+4.0%). The few companies that lost ground only lost a little and included Facebook (-2.2%), National CineMedia (-0.9%), Charter (-0.8%), Cablevision (-0.1%), and Google (-0.1%).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed today at 14,253.77, topping the previous record high in 2007 — and other benchmarks aren’t far behind. Analysts say the rally reflects growing optimism about the economy, especially after the Institute for Supply Management reported data today showing strength in the service sector. The widespread momentum contributed to the continuing strength in media stocks, which have outperformed the market over the last year or so pushing many to levels at or near their all time highs. Big Media companies today were led by CBS (+2.5%), News Corp (+2.4%), Viacom (+1.9%), Time Warner (+1.6%), Comcast (+1.4%), and Disney (1.2%). The only loser in the group today was Sony (-0.4%). Among media stocks generally, broadcasters did especially well today with Radio One +15.9%, Sinclair +5.5%, and Entercom +4%. Others up at least 3% include IAC (+4%), Best Buy (+3.6%), and Starz (+3%). Only a handful of media stocks declined today. Their ranks included Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (-2%), IMAX (-1.4%), TiVo (-1%), and DreamWorks Animation (-1%).
The competition was tough — most media stocks not only appreciated in 2012, they handily beat the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 which was up 13.4%. Comcast led the pack of Big Media conglomerates with shares +57.6%, followed by News Corp (+43.0%), CBS (+40.2%), Disney (+32.8%), Time Warner (+32.4%) and Viacom (+16.1%). Sony was the only member of this group to lose ground, falling 37.9% as it struggles to fix its global TV and electronics sales operations. Within the universe of other companies that we track most closely, the biggest winners were Carmike (+118.7%), Lionsgate (+97.1%), AOL (+96.1%), Lin TV (+78.0%), and Sirius XM (+58.8%). The losers: Best Buy (-49.3%), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (-44.3%), Sony, Rovi (-37.2%), and Facebook (-30.0% since it went public in May.).