Broadcasting Surpasses Wall Street’s Thursday Gains

Cable stocks rise more modestly in line with broad market.
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The stock market bounced back smartly Thursday, rising about 4%, with TV stocks climbing even more. Cable stocks’ gains were more restrained in line with the broad market.

After gyrating higher and lower all day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 410.03 points (or 3.86%) to close at $11,10.69, erasing most of the prior day’s 449.36 point plunge. The broader S&P 500 rose 4.33% Thursday.

Broadcasting stocks, which slumped more than the broad marker earlier in the week, made gains Thursday well above 4% broad market benchmark. Analysts were impressed with media-company presentations that talked up retransmission-consent revenue and political advertising at the Goldman Sachs two-day Communacopia XVII Conference, which ended Thursday.

Nexstar Broadcasting Group was the biggest gainer, jumping 44 cents to close at $3.05 per share, a 16.86% one-day rise. On a percentage basis, the next-highest were Hearst-Argyle Television, which gained $2.65 to close at $23.40 (up 12.77%), and LIN TV, with a 73-cent increase to close at $6.49 per share (up 12.67%).

Shares of CBS -- chief Les Moonves talked up political ad prospects Wednesday at Communacopia -- climbed 63 cents Thursday to close at $15.68, up 4.19%.

Among big-capitalization stocks, Viacom rose $1.42 to close at $25.94 for a 5.79% gain. News Corp., which owns Fox Broadcasting, advanced 54 cents per share to close at $13.32 for a 4.23% increase. Disney -- which didn’t fall as much as peers early in the week -- climbed $1.25 per share Thursday to close at $33.44 for a 3.88% gain.

In the cable-TV sector, the top performers were Crown Media Holdings (parent of Hallmark Channel), up 14.93%,and Mediacom Communications rising 8.45%.

Wall Street’s broader gain was fueled in part by speculation that the federal government was creating a financial vehicle to absorb bad bank loans, which would open the door for more lending and alleviate the credit crunch.

Also, the Securities and Exchange Commission promised greater enforcement Thursday on short sellers, who bet that certain stock prices will fall. The squeeze on shorts sellers may have helped broadcasters, in particular, given the fact that shorts have piled into the downtrodden sector.

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