ITV stock price hammered

Shares hit new low as investors flee

ITV’s stock price reached a record low of 41.7 pence (83.1¢) in early trading Tuesday but later nudged upward to 85¢.

The further decline in the U.K. terrestrial broadcaster’s stock was blamed on concern over the fragility of the British economy and doubts regarding the health of the advertising market, which is giving media stocks a bumpy ride.

ITV, in the midst of a turnaround strategy masterminded by executive chairman Michael Grade, has seen its share price plunge by more than 60% in the past 12 months. The web’s dismal perf has also hit paybox BSkyB, which is its biggest single stockholder with a 17.9% stake.

On Monday, Deutsche Bank advised investors to sell ITV stock — at 95.7¢. But that was before regulators announced that proposed new video-on-demand service Kangaroo, backed by ITV, the BBC and Channel 4 and due to launch in the fall, will be examined by the Competition Commission. Kangaroo is now unlikely to bow before next year.

Gareth Thomas, an analyst at Collins Stewart, said: “There is no appetite to buy the shares of any media stock that is advertising-dependent and exposed to U.K. consumers. Stocks that have suffered the most are those that are highly U.K.-exposed, such as newspapers and ITV, which have taken an absolute hammering.”

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