Commentary

Stock Market Indices Plunge, Media Stocks Along For The Ride - Down

Misery loves company, and Thursday's crushing close saw the Dow Jones Industrials sink 3%, while the S&P 500 index suffered a 4% loss, and Nasdaq gave back 5%.

Media stocks of all kinds -- including traditional, digital, ad tech -- have seen sharp declines since the first of the year, much more than the marketplace overall.

Even those newfangled companies -- such as Warner Bros. Discovery -- continue to get bashed around. Since its opening on April 4, its stock has dropped 26% to close at $18.88.

On Thursday, Netflix -- maintaining its profile as the poster child for all that is currently wrong with streaming -- was down 70% since the start of the year. It lost 8% on Thursday, closing at $188.32.

Those looking to catch up to Netflix -- like Walt Disney -- have had their own woes, losing 28% since the start of the year and off 3% on Thursday's big selloff to $112.61.

Shall we go further? Comcast Corp. has pulled back 20% year-to-date (and 3% on Thursday) to a $40.38 close. Charter Communications slid 30% year-to-date -- but was up 2% to $456.20 on Thursday, a rare gainer on the day.

The strongest of the big legacy companies -- Paramount Global -- has been down just 8% year-to-date (to $29.72 as of Thursday’s close). But the company has been trading at a low level for some time -- down 22% year-over-year, for example.

Streaming app distributor Roku was more on the Netflix train -- sinking a massive 56% since January 2022 and 7% on Thursday (to $102.45).

One rare company to show gains over the last four months -- big U.S. TV station owner Nexstar Media Group -- was up 6.4% $163.26 year-to-date (but still down 2% on Thursday).

Other TV station owners have not been as fortunate. Sinclair Broadcast Group was down 12% (to $23.68) year-to-date, while Gray Television lost 11% (to $19.32).

Digital media-based companies continue to lead the big declines: Meta Platforms (Facebook) has dropped 39% since the beginning of the year (to $208.28), while Amazon has lost 32% (to $2,328.14) and Alphabet (Google) has given up 20% ($2,330.11).

Overall, U.S. companies are heading in the same direction. The Dow Jones Industrials is down 10% for the year (to 32,997.97), while the S&P 500 Index has fallen 14% (to 4,146.87) and Nasdaq has sunk 22% (to 12,317.69).

As for media platforms looking to be buoyed by being brand advertisers in the near term -- either with traditional linear TV networks/stations, or those more flexible digital media options? Don't hold your breath.

As the Federal Reserve continues to fight inflation, and the economy faces ongoing challenges with lingering supply-chain issues, more lumps and bumps are surely on the way.

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