Showbiz applauds Fed act

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A surprise Fed discount rate cut buoyed U.S. markets after a tumultuous week and led to a broad-based rally in media and entertainment stocks.

The Hollywood Reporter Showbiz 50 index saw only 10 decliners Friday to close up 1.9%.

CBS Corp. and News Corp. were the biggest gainers among sector biggies, up 3.2% and 3.1%, respectively. Other media conglomerates lagged the strong gains elsewhere, with Time Warner Inc.'s stock climbing only 0.4% and shares of the Walt Disney Co. finishing 0.3% higher.

Sony Corp. American depository shares even declined slightly, and Viacom Inc.'s stock lost 2% after an analyst at UBS cut his price target on the shares by $3 to $44, citing the company's sluggish cable advertising growth.

It was smaller media and entertainment sector players that had some of the strongest performance for the day. Lionsgate shares jumped 3.9%, and DreamWorks Animation gained 3.7%, for example.

Such distributors as EchoStar Communications and DirecTV Group also saw their shares gain ground.

The biggest winner in the THR Showbiz 50 was digital music firm Napster Inc., whose shares rose 5.1% despite a lack of news.

Speaking of music, shares of Warner Music Group, tipped by some on Wall Street recently to have upside potential, ended up 3.7% on Friday at $11.64, helping the stock to create some distance from its recent 52-week low of $9.79.

With U.S. and world markets in disarray as of late because of a debt-market crunch and economic concerns, Friday's rally brought the broad-based S&P 500 stock index its best day in almost 41/2 years, according to Reuters.

Wall Street watchers saw the rate cut as an emergency measure to reinstall confidence in investors shaken by the recent tumultuous market moves.
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