Businesses relying on discretionary income take hit

In the month of trading between July 22 and August 19, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index fell a staggering 16.5%. The reasons: Beltway bickering over the debt ceiling, fear of another recession, the downgrading of America’s credit rating, and ongoing debt problems in Europe.

The chart to the right shows how the shares of five media and entertainment companies, each a leader in its industry, performed in that period. Relying on consumers’ discretionary income, most were hit harder than the overall market. The exception, casino resort operator Las Vegas Sands, perhaps because of its majority stakes in three casinos in Macau, part of still-booming China.

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