Analyst rates TW best stock

MUMBAI: It might be a little early for long-suffering shareholders to celebrate, but Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce says shares of both companies have a good shot at more than doubling during the next two years.

In a recent research note to clients, Joyce put the 20 media stocks he covers in order, best to worst, using such criteria as risk, exposure to advertising and where we are as a country and industry in terms of the recession cycle.

The pattern that emerges is that he is bullish on cable TV providers and likes dual revenue streams -- as long as one of those streams isn‘t newspaper advertising.

Rounding out Joyce‘s top five picks are Comcast, Liberty Global and RCN Corp. Cable providers Knology, Mediacom Communications and Cablevision Systems

are sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively.

That so many cable companies crack the analyst‘s top 10 is ironic given his concern that the Internet represents stiff competition to television. He says, though, that Internet users rely on cable infrastructure, so those businesses have protection.

Shares of Time Warner closed at $24.55 on Tuesday, and Joyce sees them climbing to $36 in a year and $54 in two years. Catalysts include AOL "becoming a distinct entity," strong cable networks bucking a weak advertising trend and a broad and deep studio business offsetting weakness in publishing.

At the other end, Joyce‘s least-favorite media stock is Sirius XM Radio, though his two-year target suggests its stock price could increase threefold or more. Risk in that rosy scenario is great, though, hence its last-place position.

Joyce says Sirius XM‘s subscriber growth will suffer with a declining auto and retail market and that a large reverse stock split could come by year‘s end. Plus, the 40% pro forma equity taken by Liberty Media Capital represents too much dilution for Joyce‘s liking.

Rounding out his bottom five are Clear Channel Outdoor, Entravision Communications, Dolby Laboratories and Lionsgate.

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