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Dow Jones Drops; Takes Cable Stocks with It

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points Tuesday -- its largest single-day loss in more than five years -- and it took most of the cable sector along for the downward slide.

The DJIA closed at 12,216.24, down 416.02 points (3.3%), and the NASDAQ Composite Index finished the day down 96.65 points (3.9%), closing at 2,407.87 points.

It was the biggest single-day decline for both exchanges since Sept. 17, 2001, the first trading day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Spurring the decline was a huge sell-off in the Chinese stock market -- the Shanghai Index fell more than 8%, wiping out $100 billion in market capitalization Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal -- lackluster durable goods data in the United States and continued uncertainty in the Middle East.

While Dow components like General Motors (down 6%, or $1.97 per share) and ExxonMobil (down 4.7%, or $3.57 each) bore the brunt of the declines, the pain was spread throughout the stock market.

Cable stocks were among those hit hard by the decline, with Comcast stock dipping 4.4% ($1.17 each) to $25.30 per share; Charter Communications dropping 6.2% (20 cents) to $3.02 per share; and Time Warner falling 4.2% (89 cents) to $20.21 each.

Virtually no sector was left unscathed. In the satellite-TV sector, EchoStar Communications had the biggest decline, 3.7% ($1.57 per share), and DirecTV Group dipped 2.8% (64 cents) to $22.36 per share.

Among cable programmers, Disney fell 5.7% ($2.01 each) to $33.10, E.W Scripps dipped 3.7% ($1.77 each) to $46.75, Viacom dropped $1 each (2.5%) to $39.39 per share and CBS fell $1.16 (3.7%) to $30.24.

Surprisingly, the only stock to gain ground in the programming sector was Crown Media Holdings, parent of Hallmark Channel, which closed at $4.18 each, up one cent per share.

In cable equipment, C-COR dropped 9.7% ($1.44 each) to $13.35, CommScope fell 4.8% ($1.89 each) to $37.62, Motorola fell 3.4% (65 cents) to $18.60 and Cisco dipped 5.6% ($1.53 each) to $25.71 per share.

Like the programming sector, just one company showed a gain for the day -- tiny Wegener, which saw its stock price rise one cent to $1.03 per share.