Biz’s boffo box office creates mutual respect

Hollywood majors are newly popular among investors

Last year was a good one at the U.S. box office, and the mutual fund industry noticed. Funds, which had been shedding shares of parent companies of the Big Six Hollywood studios, scooped up many of them in the second half of the year.

According to figures compiled for Variety by fund-tracker Morningstar, ownership of five of the six media giants that control the major studios increased between July 2012 and January of this year.

Comcast remains the fave biz stock among funds, with almost 3,300 portfolios owning it. That’s up more than 126% from July. The popularity ranking of these stocks among fund managers has remained relatively stable since last summer. Only News Corp. moved up in ranking, replacing Viacom in fourth position. The Murdoch operation is held by 129.5% more funds than owned it in July, the best percentage gain of the six. Additional funds may buy in later this year when News Corp. morphs into Fox Group by spinning off its newspaper assets.

Sony remains the least loved studio owner among funds. Despite the success of “Skyfall” and “The Amazing Spider Man,” it is still seen as a lagging electronics maker.

Morningstar counted ownership by traditional open-end funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and unit investment trusts.