Entertainment Stocks Tumble as Coronavirus Crisis Spreads

Dow Jones at the New York Stock Exchange 02-24-20 - Getty - H 2020

Shares in top media companies fell in value as the Covid-19 outbreak has surged beyond China.

Shares of top Hollywood media stocks on Monday fell in value on a new wave of concern that the coronavirus outbreak has spread widely beyond China.

Shares in Walt Disney fell by $5.96, or nearly 4.3 percent, to $133.01 as its Hong Kong and Shanghai theme parks remain closed to curb the spread of coronavirus and the studio's live-action remake of Mulan, set for release in China on March 27, faces a costly delay if cinemas in that market don't open soon.

Among the other industry giants hit was Comcast, whose stock was off 2.6 percent, or $1.22, to $44.60 following reports that Universal's star-studded publicity tour ahead of the scheduled mid-April Chinese premiere for the latest James Bond movie No Time to Die — a key revenue driver for the studio — has been called off as around 70,000 movie theaters in China remain shuttered amid the outbreak.

There's also a piracy risk for some upcoming Hollywood movies releases in China when theaters reopen as many studio titles may lose the opportunity for a day-and-date release simultaneous with the U.S. theatrical rollout to boost box office activity.

Other market losers on Monday included Imax, which saw its shares fall by 32 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $16.58 as its own China theater closures show no sign of ending after the decision last month to postpone the Chinese New Year film slate in the country because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Wall Street selloff for media stocks followed the World Health Organization on Monday pointing to cases of the coronavirus having spread substantially beyond China, including to Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Shares in Hasbro fell just over 3 percent, or $2.88, to $87.09 as the toy maker has seen supply-chain disruption due to China's coronavirus outbreak as toy production levels in that Asian market have been hit by epidemic fears and lockdown measures.

Apple, an industry bellwether for the tech giants' heavy exposure to China, saw its shares fall 4.7 percent, or $14.87 to $298.18 as iPhone production in the country has been disrupted and sales for its products in China have fallen.

Netflix also saw its stock fall Monday, by nearly 3 percent, or $11.37 to $368.70, but the streaming giant could be a beneficiary of a spreading coronavirus as its over-the-top streaming service has no physical association with public spaces, unlike movie theaters and sporting events, and people staying close to home during the outbreak would be expected to watch more films and TV shows to pass the time.