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Dow Begins the Long Climb Back

The stock market began the long climb out of a coronavirus-inspired hole on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining nearly 2,000 points as investors began to seek out bargains after a nearly unprecedented decline, taking cable stocks along for the ride.

The Dow closed at 23,185.62 points on March 13, a 1,985-point gain, chipping away at a nearly 5,000-point decline in the index between Feb. 13 and March 12. The Dow entered into bear market territory March 11, dropping 1,600 points and ending an 11-year bull run as investors panicked over the potential impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The next day the index fell another 2,300 points, its worst day since the 1987 crash

But those fears began to ease March 13, especially after President Trump, who had issued a confusing European travel ban March 11 that sent the markets into a tailspin the next day, held a Friday press conference declaring a national emergency which would free up to $50 billion to help Americans fight the virus outbreak. 

That was enough to cause many investors to dive back into the market, and they did so with a vengeance. Cable stocks, hammered over the past few weeks as coronavirus cases mounted, began to rebound March 13.

On the distribution side, Comcast stock, down 24% between Feb. 20 and March 12, rose 12.6% ($4.39) on March 13 to $39.33 per share. Other stocks in the sector that had fallen by double-digits in the past few weeks also started to regain lost ground, with AT&T up 10%, Altice USA rising 7%, Charter up 6.2%, and Cable One gaining 6%.

Dish Network, down more than 50% between Feb. 20 and March 12, gained 8.8% ($1.74 each) on Friday, closing at $21.59 per share. 

On the content side, The Walt Disney Co., which lost 25% of its stock value between Feb. 13 and March 11, regained some of those losses, rising 11.7% on March 13 to close at $102.52 per share. AMC Networks gained 10.3% Friday while other stocks in the sector had more modest gains. Discovery closed at $22.89 each Friday, up 2.7%, while ViacomCBS was up 3% for the day. Fox was essentially flat at $26.15 per share.