Movies

Media stocks seen sinking

MUMBAI: Big media stocks took a dive yesterday amid market declines in the U.S. and Europe driven by renewed economic concerns and doubts that the recent market rally can continue.

U.S. markets have moved higher since a low point in early March, and media and entertainment stocks often have outpaced the overall gains amid recent signs that the worst of the economic downturn might be over.


Still, economic growth seems unlikely to return until later this year and likely will be anemic, raising questions about how sustainable the upward momentum in markets is. That has led to market stutters as of late as investors look for more direction. Media and entertainment investors also have waited for signs of a real improvement in advertising trends.


The Wall Street Journal highlighted the raging debate among investors over U.S. stock markets‘ outlook, pointing out technical indicators that are red flags for further gains.


Also, the World Bank cut its economic forecasts for most regions.


"The world is entering an era of slower growth," it said, predicting a global economic decline of 2.9 per cent this year. This will turn into global growth of 2 per cent in 2010 and 3.2 per cent in 2011, it said. Many developing countries will lose their status as engines for the global economy over the near term, it suggested.


All this pressured stocks, as the broad-based S&P 500 index tanked 3.1 per cent. It now is down about 10 points for the year-to-date period. The Dow fell 2.4%, and the Nasdaq lost 3.4 per cent of its value.


Media and entertainment stocks got caught in the downdraft as the THR Showbiz 50 index decreased 3 per cent to 725.49. Many big-media stocks suddenly are left behind their 2008 closing prices again despite their rally since March.


Amid sector biggies, CBS Corp. shed 6.8 per cent to $6.84 and is now down 14.7 per cent year-to-date, and News Corp. shares fell 5.2 per cent to $10.11 (6.6 per cent for the year). Time Warner and Walt Disney shares dropped 3.7 per cent each to $24.22 (down 10.7 per cent for the year) and $22.66 (down 0.1 per cent), respectively. Viacom declined 5.3 per cent to $23.22 (up 15.4 per cent for the year).


The European picture wasn‘t pretty either. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 2.6 per cent and the German DAX fell 3 per cent.


Shares of News Corp.-controlled U.K. satcaster BSkyB declined 2.9 per cent to ?4.31 ($7.04), while broadcaster ITV saw its stock fall 2.1 per cent to ?35.25 ($57.60). German pay TV firm Premiere, in which News Corp. has been raising its stake, gained 2.2 per cent to €2.75 ($3.81) as Goldman Sachs raised its price target, but German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 lost 3.8 per cent to €3.85 ($5.34).

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