Comcast Shares Down 3% After Moffett Downgrade

Comcast took a hit Tuesday after influential media analyst Craig Moffett downgraded the cable sector to “neutral,” adding that most of the distribution stocks have either passed or are coming increasingly close to his 12-month price targets.

Comcast shares dipped 3.4% to close at $40.39 each, down $1.41 per share. Charter Communications stock closed at $333.61 per share, down 2% or $6.61 each.

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Moffett wondered in a 54-page research report Tuesday whether cable, which had been able to withstand pressure from over-the-top providers and skinny bundles by raising prices on broadband, would be able to maintain that practice.

Cable One, which has publicly said it favors broadband service over video, fell the least of the stocks in the sector, closing at $724.08 per share, down $1.58 each, or 0.22%.

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Other distribution stocks not in Moffett’s coverage universe also appeared to be affected. WideOpenWest, which went public last month and like Cable One has concentrated on broadband customers, fell 2.75% (49 cents each) to close at $17.34 on Tuesday. Alaskan cable operator general Communications Inc. was down 1.8% (67 cents each) to $35.89 per share.

Telco TV operators also felt some pain, with Verizon down 63 cents (1.35%) to close at $45.94 and AT&T dipping 25 cents (0.64%) to close at $38.66 per share.