Media stocks hold up amid Street sell-off

Showbiz 50 sheds a marginal 2.9% despite only two fractional gainers

Friday's sell-off on Wall Street took down just about every sector save for energy, but media fared a smidgen better than most.

Of the major indexes, the Dow Jones industrial average was hit hardest, dropping 395 points, or 3.1%, narrowly undeperforming the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

The Hollywood Reporter Showbiz 50 index fell 2.9%. Not bad, considering that only two of the 50 stocks — Yahoo and NDS — closed higher on the day, albeit just fractionally in both cases.

Leading the Showbiz 50's charge to the downside was Carmike Cinemas, off 9.4% to $7.37. Carmike has fallen 21% since reporting better-than-expected quarterly financial results three weeks ago. The downdraft has nearly wiped out what had been some fairly hefty year-to-date gains.

Martha Stewart Living was second worst, falling 6.6% to $8.50, followed by Entercom Communications, which lost 6% to $8.59.

Entercom — and the radio sector as a whole — was the subject of a Citigroup report last week noting that overall ad revenue for the industry fell 7% in the first quarter.

"The outlook for a near-term recovery looks more remote," Citgroup analyst Tony Wible wrote, saying that radio won't benefit as much from political advertising as will TV.

He specifically downgraded Entravision, and the company's stock plunged 18.5% on Friday to $4.71. Entravision is not part of the Showbiz 50.

The analyst also cut his price target on the satellite radio firms, with XM going down a quarter to $12 and Sirius going 50 cents lower to $7.50. Shares of XM were off 4.3% to $11.11 on Friday, and Sirius shares were down 4.8% to $2.57.

Marvel Entertainment fell 5.7% on Friday and was the fifth-worst performer on the index.

The stock was downgraded Friday by analyst Drew Crum of Stifel Nicolaus, who was concerned that after "Iron Man" and Friday's release of "The Incredible Hulk," there's nothing to drive the stock higher this year.

"Without any major event scheduled for 2009, the business may lack a catalyst and shares could get complacent," Crum said.

Even after Friday's swoon, though, Marvel shares are up 27% so far this year. (partialdiff)
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