Is the Media Meltdown Just Starting?

DIS started the slump, and now AMCX, VIAB, FOXA, TWX, NYT, CMCSA, and TIME are lower

Aug 6, 2015 at 3:09 PM
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Media stocks are getting absolutely hammered today. What's more, the worst might not be over for the sector, should the bullish holdouts -- and there are many -- abandon ship. Before we get to all that, though, let's check in on some of the day's biggest losers.

Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) started the trend yesterday, slumping more than 9% -- and keeping the Dow in the red -- after a poorly received earnings report. The blue chip also warned that cable subscribers are dwindling in favor of streaming entertainment. Things aren't much better today, with DIS off 2.2% at $108.14, bringing its week-to-date loss to nearly 10%. 

AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) has surrendered 8.4% to sit at $71.85, as Disney's warning has overshadowed stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings. It's a similar storyline for Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB), which has plunged 12% to sit at $45.22, and just touched a three-year low of $39.28.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) is also exploring new lows, hitting a two-year nadir of $27.56. The shares are now down 7.3% at $29.60, after the company cut its full-year guidance. While FOXA conceded that older channels like Fox News and FX might lose subscribers in the pay TV sinkhole, new CEO James Murdoch expects that to be negated by new offerings like FXX and Fox Sports 1. What's more, the stock received price-target cuts from Nomura (to $36) and CLSA (to $36.50).

Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) is falling for a second straight day, down 0.6% at $79.30. The stock has surrendered close to 10% this week, after dropping yesterday post-earnings. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is also in the red, down 1.8% at $58.71, despite yesterday announcing that Universal Pictures set a box-office record. 

Over on the print side, New York Times Co (NYSE:NYT) has given up 3.4% to trade at $12.74, after the firm reported lackluster revenue and declining print ad sales. Time Inc (NYSE:TIME) is down 3.3% at $20.90, despite beating earnings expectations yesterday. 

Meanwhile, CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) shareholders -- and analysts -- initially disregarded an earnings beat, sending the stock to a two-year low of $47.83. However, CBS has since turned around, adding 2.9% to flirt with $51.87. 

As alluded to earlier, the worst might not be over for some of these entertainment providers. As of yesterday, 70% of analyst ratings on the 15 stocks under our Media umbrella were "buys." That's the most of any sector we track, tied with just biotech. In fact, not one of the aforementioned companies sported a "sell" recommendation yesterday.

What's more, short interest on the group dropped nearly 34% during the past year -- the biggest decrease of all the sectors we track, per data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. And the average Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stood at 0.74, indicating calls outnumber puts among options expiring within three months. 

Meanwhile, just 47% of media stocks were trading above their 80-day moving average yesterday, and the average year-to-date return stood at a paltry 5.7% -- numbers that  have most definitely plummeted in the wake of today's battering. Against this backdrop, a round of negative analyst attention, a wave of short sellers, or a mass exodus of option bulls could exacerbate losses on the sector. (To see what other sector might be vulnerable, click here.)



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