Media stocks mixed as markets near bear territory

Media company stocks had a mixed trading day on Friday, amid fears of a looming global recession, as major market indexes marked their longest string of weekly losses in decades.

The S&P 500 index closed flat on a late-hour rally but was down for the week and down 18.7% year-to-date, close to the unofficial 20% line that signals a bear market. The Nasdaq Composite, which is weighted towards the technology sector, slipped 0.3% on Friday and is down 28% since the start of 2020. It’s the longest streak of weekly losses for both indexes since the dot-com bust of 2001.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also essentially flat on Friday, falling 2.8% for the week. According to market analysts, this was the eighth straight weekly loss, the longest since 1932.

After a late rally, some media stocks ended the day in positive territory. These included Warner Bros. Discovery (+1.4%), Paramount Global (+1.3%) and Fox Corp. (+0.4%). Detractors included Disney (-0.7%), Comcast (-0.02%), AMC Networks (-3%) and Lionsgate (-3.6%).

Netflix closed up 1.4% on Friday, but that came after a massive sell-off in the streamer’s shares. So far this year, Netflix’s stock is down 69%.

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Persistently high inflation in the US and elsewhere raises concerns about a slowdown in spending. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates earlier this month to curb inflation and is expected to do so again; this has also contributed to downward pressure on stocks, particularly at heavily leveraged companies.

One of the few widely held stocks up year-to-date is AT&T, which spun off WarnerMedia and sold it to Discovery in a deal closed last month. This divestment ended the telecom company’s run in media and entertainment to focus on its core telecom business. AT&T shares are up 0.9% on Friday and 6.4% year-to-date. Media stocks mixed as markets near bear territory

Charles Jones

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