Media Stocks Mixed as Markets Tumble Toward Bear Territory

Amid fears of a looming global recession, shares of media companies saw a mixed day of trading Friday as major market indexes marked their the longest string of weekly losses in decades.

The S&P 500 index closed flat thanks to a late-session rally, but it was down for the week and is off 18.7% year to date, on the edge of the unofficial 20% threshold indicating a bear market. The Nasdaq Composite, weighted toward the tech sector, dipped 0.3% Friday and has declined 28% since the beginning of 2022. For both indexes, it’s their longest streak of weekly losses since the 2001 dot-com bust.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also was essentially flat Friday, down 2.8% for the week. That marked its eighth straight weekly loss, the longest since 1932, according to market analysts.

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

Netflix closed up 1.6% Friday, but that is coming after a massive sell-off in the streamer’s shares over the last four months. The streamer missed subscriber targets for Q4 of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, pushing the stock down 69% so far this year.

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The sustained high rate of inflation in the U.S. and other countries is driving Wall Street’s concerns of a slowdown in spending. The Federal Reserve earlier this month hiked interest rates, in a bid to contain inflation, and is expected to do so again; that also has contributed to the downward pressure on stocks, particularly among highly leveraged companies.

AT&T is one of the only widely held stocks that is up year to date. The company spun off WarnerMedia and sold it to Discovery in a deal that closed last month, which ended the telco’s run in media and entertainment to focus on its core telecommunications biz. Shares of AT&T nosed up 0.9% Friday and are up 6.3% YTD.

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