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Entertainment Stocks Hit 52-Week Highs After Fiscal Cliff Deal

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UPDATED: CBS Corp., Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. are among those setting new highs on the first trading day of the year, while Netflix trends lower.

Big Hollywood conglomerate stocks hit 52-week highs in early Wednesday ratings as stock markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia posted gains following a U.S. deal to avoid the much-discussed "fiscal cliff," which would have led to a range of tax increases.

Shares of CBS Corp. were up 1.6 percent as of 11:20am ET after earlier hitting a 52-week high of $39.77. Time Warner's stock was up 3.4 percent at $49.47 after hitting a high of $49.63, while Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. was up 3.4 percent at $26.37 after reaching a 52-week high of $26.71.

NBCUniversal majority owner and cable giant Comcast was up 2.2 percent at $36.71 after high of $37.06.

Other sector stocks, including Viacom and Walt Disney, also rose on Wednesday but didn't hit 52-week highs. The two giants were up 4.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, as of 11:20am ET. Sony Corp.'s stock was up 2.3 percent at $11.46.

Meanwhile, Netflix's shares were down 0.8 percent at $91.90.

In the U.K., commercial TV powerhouse ITV also saw its stock hit a 52-week high of $1.77 (1.089 pounds). And in Germany, pay TV giant Sky Deutschland, in which News Corp. owns nearly 50 percent, hit a 52-week high of $7.48 (5.67 euros).

The fiscal cliff was avoided by a last-minute agreement in Washington, D.C. over the new year's weekend. The House of Representatives voted in favor of the necessary budget bill on Tuesday. Observers were concerned that in absence of a deal, economic and advertising momentum would be hurt.

Wednesday's stock gains came after strong gains in many big Hollywood conglomerate stocks in 2012. Earlier on Wednesday, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett had predicted further gains for sector stocks in 2013.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai