Cable Stocks Weather Market Storm

Cable shares managed to weather Monday’s stock market storm in the wake of the president’s controversial immigration policies, with most shares showing slight gains as other sectors swooned.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 200 points Monday before closing down 123 points to 19,971, as the market feared increasing instability in the U.S. political system, stemming from worldwide reaction to President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven countries.

Trump’s executive order Friday, which barred refugees from Syria indefinitely and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries ( Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) for 90 days and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days, touched off protests across the country over the weekend. Thousands of protesters marched in airports in cities like New York, Washington and Boston as 109 immigrants were detained under the order.

Several legislators expressed their outrage at the ban, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

Trump blamed the airport delays on a computer glitch that grounded Delta Airlines flights (which happened on Sunday), protesters and “the tears of [New York’s U.S.] Senator [Charles] Schumer.”

While Trump’s administration called his actions another example of his decisiveness and action, the market and the world community feared it was a signal of increasing instability, sending the Dow plunging.

Cable shares were relatively unscathed. On the distribution side, Charter Communications gained 0.4% and Comcast and Cable One were down about 1%. Programmers fared even better, with The Walt Disney Co. (1.5%); Viacom (1.2%); AMC Networks (0.5%); Time Warner (0.25%); Scrips Networks (0.04%); 21st Century Fox (0.3%); and QVC Group (0.8%) all showing gains. Discovery Communications lost 0.3% and CBS was down 0.5%.

Airline stocks were hit hard -- American Airlines stock fell 4.4%; Delta Airlines was down 4.1% and United Continental Holdings dipped 3.6% on Monday. Tech stocks also took some hits – Google parent Alphabet Inc. fell 2.6% -- after several technology chiefs spoke out against the Muslim ban.

The decline – the biggest drop in the market since Oct. 11 – mars what had been a strong run-up since Trump won the election, when investors were encouraged by promises of more jobs, tax cuts and regulatory reform. Still, even with today’s decline, the index is up about 9% since Trump won the electorate.

But according to reports, the immigration moves are forcing investors to consider whether some of the President’s policies will create and deepen negative images of the U.S. on the world stage.  

On Monday, Trump signed another executive order, this one requiring all federal agencies to remove two regulations for every new one they enact.