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Stocks on Wednesday were hammered hard and shares of media companies were hit hardest, likely a reaction to bombs being sent to CNN’s New York headquarters.
CNN parent AT&T saw its shares plunge 8 percent, though they were off 6 percent even before news of the CNN attack spread widely as investors were disappointed that quarterly earnings did not meet expectations — in large measure due to cancellations at DirecTV.
But other media stocks had no such excuse, and still fell more than the markets in general.
While the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 3.8 percent and the Nasdaq was down 4.4 percent, Netflx dropped 9.4 percent, Discovery Communications fell 9 percent, Walt Disney and CBS were each down 5.3 percent, Viacom was off 7 percent and The New York Times fell 5.6 percent.
One of the few media stocks to rise on Wednesday was Salem Media Group, the leader in conservative talk radio.
Social-media giants also took a beating, with Facebook down 5.4 percent, Twitter off 4.3 percent, Snap Inc. off 3.4 percent and Google down 4.8 percent.
The Dow fell a whopping 608 points, while the Nasdaq shed 329. While all of the carnage cannot be attributed to the drama at CNN, it is clear that some investors were eager to use it as an excuse to take profits ahead of a midterm election and as interest rates rise.
Stocks opened mildly lower Wednesday, even as the news of a potential bomb at CNN had already broken, but the selling escalated throughout the trading session, and it was most intense with media stocks. In many cases, nearly twice the average number of shares traded hands.
CNN’s New York headquarters were evacuated Wednesday for a potential explosive device, and also on Wednesday similar devices were sent to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, though the packages were intercepted. Authorities say the attacks are related.
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