The broader market was dragged down Friday by investor fears about signs of an economic slowdown in China, observers said. But the traditional sector has been hammered during the past several weeks amid heightened worries about long-term deterioration of the two biggest drivers of showbiz earnings: MVPD affiliate fees and advertising sales.
The declines for the digital hot-shots are being chalked up to the drag of the broader market and a correction from the spikes that Netflix in particular enjoyed in recent weeks while traditional showbiz stocks slumped.
Netflix shares closed down 7.6%, to $103.96. Facebook’s stock dropped 5% to close at $86.06. Apple was down more than 6% to 105.76 on a day when a broad selloff sent the Dow plunging 530 points, or 3%. The Nasdaq index dropped 171.45, or 3.5%.
Google shares also slipped 5.3% to close at $612.48.
Most of the traditional showbiz congloms were down in the 1%-3% range, after taking bigger hits on Thursday. Disney (down 1.2% to $98.84), Viacom (down 1.3% to $39.87) and Time Warner (down 1.62% to $72.70) held up the best among the entertainment congloms on Friday.
In a research note issued Friday, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz noted that the collective valuation of what he dubbed “Big Media” shares have plunged $70 billion over the past two weeks. Creutz cited the perfect storm of factors — soft national TV advertising sales and the acceleration of cord cutting — that have come into sharper focus for the sector overall in recent months.
“We don’t think this is because investors suddenly learned that sector fundamentals are under pressure; rather, we think it is because investors realized that there is no good way to tell how severe the pressure on fundamentals could ultimately be, nor how long the pressure will ultimately last,” he wrote.
Cowen said it would reduce its price targets for most showbiz stocks because of the unpredictable market conditions. CBS Corp., however, will stick with a outperform rating as the Eye is believed to be “better positioned against sector headwinds, and (shares) trade at an attractive multiple,” Creutz wrote.