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Why These 4 Media Stocks Were Slammed Thursday

By Daniel Sparks - Mar 12, 2020 at 4:36PM

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Few were spared from the market's bloodbath.

The market was crushed on Thursday, extending a brutal sell-off. Highlighting the market's steep decline, the S&P 500 is now down about 25% since Feb. 19. On Thursday alone, the market index fell by 7.6% as of 2:22 p.m. EDT. With a market crash of this magnitude, it's not surprising to see stocks from just about every industry also falling sharply.

Media stocks are among those taking big hits recently, with shares of Netflix (NFLX 2.90%), Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF-A -3.97%) (LGF-B -3.62%), Discovery (DISCK), and The New York Times (NYT 2.51%) all falling by double-digit percentages on Thursday.

At one point during the trading day on Thursday, all of these stocks were down more than 10%. But here's how their sell-offs looked as of 2:38 p.m. EDT:

  • Netflix: down 9.5%
  • Lions Gate: down 14.7%
  • Discovery: down 11.4%
  • The New York Times: down 7%
A young woman eating popcorn while watching TV

Image source: Getty Images.

The coronavirus sparks fear

It would be difficult to overstate how dramatic the market's pullback was on Thursday. As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 8.5% -- making it the index's worst trading day since the 1987 market crash.

This bear market has been primarily driven by growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. Confirmed cases around the world are nearing 130,000, with about 1,300 cases already confirmed in the U.S.

President Donald Trump attempted to temper fears in an Oval Office address to the nation on Wednesday, unveiling ideas for economic stimulus and announcing a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the U.S. In addition, he proposed a payroll tax cut.

Many industries have been affected by efforts to stop the spreading of the coronavirus. Much of the media industry, particularly companies that don't require the public gathering of people, has held up better than the overall market. But Thursday's sell-off, specifically, doesn't seem to be showing any favoritism to media stocks: Netflix, Lions Gate, Discovery, and The New York Times were all hit hard.

Stay-at-home media is showing some resilience

Lions Gate, which generates much of its revenue from its share of ticket sales, has unsurprisingly been hit the hardest of these four stocks in recent weeks. Investors are likely worried that movie-theater closures around the world will take a toll on movie-studio companies like Lions Gate. Shares of Lions Gate are down 53% since Feb. 19.

Shares of Netflix and The New York Times, on the other hand, have actually seen a smaller loss than the overall market in recent weeks. Their shares declined 21% and 18%, respectively, while the S&P 500 fell 25%. This is likely because investors are betting the services these two companies provide can thrive even amid retail-location closures and travel restrictions. Indeed, it's arguable that Netflix's streaming time will see a boost as more consumers stay home.

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Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$179.95 (2.90%) $5.08
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Stock Quote
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
LGF-A
$8.94 (-3.97%) $0.37
The New York Times Company Stock Quote
The New York Times Company
NYT
$28.60 (2.51%) $0.70
Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. Stock Quote
Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.
DISCK
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Stock Quote
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
LGF-B
$8.51 (-3.62%) $0.32

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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