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Cable Surges as Markets Rally

A small earthquake briefly shook Washington Tuesday but couldn't rattle the markets, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by more than 300 points during the day, driving some cable stocks up as much as 5%.

A small earthquake (5.9 on the Richter scale)shook some buildings from Virginia to New York City Tuesday, causing some evacuations and rattling some nerves. But the minor temblor - there were no injuries reported at press time - couldn't shake what was one of the biggest rallies in the stock market in days. The Dow finished up 322 points in a flurry of trading. The gain, building on a small 37-point lift on Monday, comes after some disappointing economic news - the Richmond Fed's regional manufacturing survey showed economic activity declined sharply in the central Atlantic in August. But according to reports, that wasn't enough to dilute optimism that the government will continue to make moves to stimulate growth.

Cable stocks, which had a mixed showing on Monday, were up across the board. The MSOs were led by Cablevision Systems, up 5 % (82 cents) for the day to $17.32 per share; and Charter Communications, up 4.7% ($2.14) to $47.43 per share. Time Warner Cable increased 3.1% ($1.90) to $62.84 and Comcast stock rose 1.4% (28 cents) to $20.06 each to round out the sector.

Satellite stocks also had a good day, with Dish Network up 3% (62 cents) to $21.99 and DirecTV up 2% (85 cents) to $42.61 per share.

Programmers showed gains as well, led by News Corp., up 5.4% (84 cents) to $16.52 and Viacom up 5.2% ($2.61) to $53.20. Those gains were followed closely by Liberty Interactive up 4.6% (64 cents) to $14.56; Liberty Starz up 4.3% ($2.77) to $66.99; Time Warner Inc., up 4.1% ($1.14) to $28.88; and Discovery Communications, up 4% ($1.46) to $37.34.

Rounding out the programmers, Scripps Networks rose 3% ($1.13) to $39.99, followed by .AMC Networks up 2.6% (83 cents) to $33.06; Liberty Capital, up 1.1% (67 cents) to $64.04; and Disney up 0.3% (9 cents) to $32.11.