Blockbuster stocks fall 33% on Thursday

Company says it experienced a weak gift-giving quarter

Media has fared well during a two-day stock market swoon, but Blockbuster has been an exception.

Stock in the nation's top video chain sank 33% on Thursday -- and 36% in the past couple of days -- to 49 cents a share.

The company warned late Wednesday that it experienced a weak gift-giving quarter, prompting Wall Street analysts to downgrade the stock and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services to lower its outlook to negative.

Blockbuster was the worst-performing stock on The Hollywood Reporter Showbiz 50 index during the trading sessions, followed by Crown Media and Sinclair Broadcast, each off 11%.

Since Tuesday, the S&P 500 and the Dow each has fallen 3%, but 31 stocks among the Showbiz 50 have outperformed those indexes.

The biggest winners have been Liberty Media and Entercom Communications, each up 5% in the two-day frame. Others on the upside include Sirius XM Radio, Imax, Belo Corp., Electronic Arts, Sony, TiVo and DreamWorks Animation, which hit an all-time high Thursday after UBS upgraded the stock from "neutral" to "buy."

UBS analyst Michael Morris boosted his price target on the stock from $34 to $50. He predicted 23% upside for the stock given a strong pipeline and better cost discipline.

"DWA is a unique media investment at the start of a strong content cycle with no exposure to advertising volatility," he said, adding that this year's "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Shrek 4" look like winners.

DWA shares soared to $42.98 intra-day Thursday, the highest they have been since the firm went public in late 2004. The stock closed at $41.33.

With the exception of News Corp., down 4% in the past two days, all the conglomerates outperformed the broader markets. Disney and Viacom shares were off 1%, while CBS and Time Warner were down 2%. Sony was up 1%.

Paul Bond reported from Los Angeles; Georg Szalai reported from New York.
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