Media stocks mirror market fallout


Media stocks tanked along with the rest of the market Monday, the first day of trading on the major U.S. stock market exchanges since the terrorist attack on Sept. 11.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded a record drop, down 684 points to (7.7%) to 8,921. Monday's plunge topped the 618-point drop the Dow suffered April 14, 2000.
ABC parent Disney took an 18% hit, dropping to $19.25, while CBS and UPN owner Viacom was off almost 13%, falling to $33. News Corp., which controls Fox, dropped 14.5% to $26.40, while AOL Time Warner fell 13% to $30.

Other media stocks were down, but not as sharply. Hearst-Argyle Television, one of the largest pure-play TV station companies, was down just 3% to $19.65. Tribune, the largest owner of WB affiliates was off just 2% to $37. Some cable MSO's weathered the tough trading day fairly well. Comcast was down a mere 1.3% to $34.22, while AT&T was less than 1% to $17.53.

Overall the NASDAQ exchange had its worst trading day in about three years, falling 115 points (7%) to 1,579.71.

The market was relatively calm, then after lunch time mutual funds got swamped by investors looking to cash in, so they in turn started selling stocks. "Buying back stock isn't going to do anything in the face of this market," said the CFO of one cable operator.
- Steve McClellan