Satellite TV stock gains big in November

Only WWE outperforms DirecTV, Dish on THR Showbiz 50

Wall Street rediscovered satellite television in November.

Shares of DirecTV advanced 20% to $31.63, while Dish Network shares were up 19% to $20.71. Of the stocks that make up The Hollywood Reporter Showbiz 50 index, only one outperformed the sat-TV duo: World Wrestling Entertainment.

Early last month, WWE posted quarterly earnings growth of 68% on revenue that climbed 2%. The company scored higher attendance at its live events and higher TV rights fees, so investors rewarded the performance by bidding shares 21% higher in November to $16.07.

DirecTV completed its merger with Liberty Media Entertainment a week ago. Some investors are speculating that John Malone, now the largest shareholder, will sell the company for something like $45 a share, which would represent a 42% premium to where the stock finished trading in November.

Primary competitor Dish, meanwhile, announced a special dividend of $2 per share early in the month, the same day it reported lackluster quarterly financial results. It did, however, manage to grow its subscriber ranks by an impressive 241,000 during the quarter.

On the flipside, Carmike Cinemas was November's biggest loser, despite all the chatter about boxoffice records being broken this year. Carmike began the month by reporting a net loss of $21 million in the quarter compared with a loss of $200,000 a year earlier, and the stock finished November down 37% to $6.09.

Other losers were Blockbuster and Warner Music Group, down 24% and 13%, respectively. Investors of both probably weren't heartened by National Retail Federation data indicating that adult American shoppers, on average, spent $343 apiece over Black Friday weekend, down 8% from a year ago. There were, however, more shoppers this time around, 195 million vs. 172 million last year.

About 40% of those shoppers bought CDs, DVDs, video games or books. While that's up slightly from last year, it's down dramatically from 2005, when 47% of Black Friday weekend shoppers purchased items from that particular category.

Overall, the THR showbiz 50 rose 5.9% in November, edging out the 5.7% gain notched by the S&P 500. Just 16 of the Showbiz 50 stocks were lower on the month.

Among the conglomerates, Disney scored highest in November by climbing 10% to $30.22, followed by a 9% gain for CBS to $12.81 and a 7% gain for Viacom to $29.64. Time Warner was up 2% to $30.72, News Corp. was up 1% to $13.69, and Sony brought up the rear by losing 9% to $26.69.

Year to date, though, it is CBS and Viacom leading the pack with gains of 61% and 56%, respectively, followed by News Corp. (up 45%), Disney (up 33%), Sony (up 22%) and Time Warner (up 15%).
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