Programmers Take Hit in Overall Market Decline

An overall market sell-off rocked Wall Street Monday as investors, wary that weaker than expected U.S. manufacturing activity could lead to sluggish overall economic growth, sent the Dow down by more than 300 points. Cable stocks were largely mixed, with some programmers taking hits as distributors largely escaped the carnage.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average p[lunged 326.05 points on Monday (2.1%) to 15,372.8, its seventh triple-digit drop in 2014. The S&P 500 Index also fell, closing at 1,741.89, down 40.7 points (2.28%).

According to reports, investors shifted their focus away from emerging markets and concentrated on the U.S. economy, which newly released data suggests started the year on shakier footing that previously thought.

In the cable sector, programmers took the biggest hits, with Starz leading the pack, dipping 5.3% ($1.48 each) to $26.50 per share on Feb. 3, followed by AMC Networks, down $3.04 each ($.7%) to $61.40; Crown Media Holdings, down 13 cents (4,3%) to $2.93; CBS, down $2.41 each (4.1%) to $56.31; Viacom, down $3.30 each ($4%) to $78.80; and The Walt Disney Co., down $2,62 each (3.6%) to $69.99. Rounding out the sector was Twenty-First Century Fox, down $94 cents (3%) to $30.88 per share; Discovery Communications, down $1.74 each (2./2%) to $78.04 Time Warner inc., down $1.31 each (2.1%) to $61.52 and Liberty Media, down $2.01 each (1.6%) to $129.56 per share.

Distributors showed the only gain in the sector – Time Warner Cable – up 74 cents (0.6%) to $134.01 each, primarily on reports that Charter Communications could increase its bid for the cable operator from $132.50 to the low $140s in the next few weeks. The rest of the sector fared reasonably well – Comcast was the biggest loser, dipping 3% ($1.68) to $52.77 each – with Charter down 88 cents (0.6%) to $136.12 and Cablevision Systems down 19 cents (1.2%) to $15.85 per share.