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Showbiz stox rebound

Media congloms outpace bullish market

Recession-battered media stocks partied even hardier than the broader market Monday, with shares in most studio parents rising 8% or more amid a bullish Wall Street rally across all major indices.

Vivendi Universal, still beset by concerns over corporate direction and burdensome debt, nevertheless managed a 9% spurt; likewise widely tracked Class B shares in Paramount parent Viacom. Disney, MGM and News Corp. all closed up 8%, while News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment unit enjoyed a 10% gain.

AOL Time Warner and Sony were sector laggards — albeit winning ones — with more modest climbs of 6% and 3%, respectively.

AOL TW remains under close watch by investors after execs last week revealed scrutiny of conglom’s accounting practices by federal regulators. Sony seemed to suffer from concerns that ongoing digital-compression patent disputes will disrupt its operations.

Among market indices, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 447.49 points, or 5.4%, to 8,711.88 in the second 400-plus point rise in four seshes. The Dow has risen almost 1,200 points since Wednesday.

The broadly structured Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped 46.12 points, or 5.4%, to 898.96. And the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 73.13 points, or 5.8%, to 1,335.25 in its biggest percentage gain in almost 10 months.

Winners outpaced losers 9-to-2 on the New York Stock Exchange and 13-to-4 on the Nasdaq, with heavy trading on all exchanges.

Despite all the upbeat news on the day, market watchers remained cautious as to whether the worst was over after months of mostly downbeat trading activity and recent horrendous seshes on news of various financial scandals.

“The market went down too far, too fast, but I don’t trust the rally today,” Credit Suisse’s Stanley Nabi said. “There are still things we have to get over.”

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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