Media stocks start 2010 on high note

Time Warner, News Corp., CBS Corp., Viacom see gains

NEW YORK -- Stock markets opened 2010 with a bang Monday as many media and entertainment stocks also finished higher.

In the U.S., the rally on the new year's first trading day boosted the Dow (up 1.5%) and the broader-based S&P 500 (up 1.6%) to their highest closing marks in 15 months. The Nasdaq (up 1.7%) finished the year's opening session at a 16-month high.

Stronger manufacturing data, which was seen as a positive sign for the economy, and Wall Street confidence in semiconductor stocks helped boost stocks broadly.

Among media conglomerates, shares of Time Warner gained 1% to $29.42, and News Corp. shares rose 2.5% to $16.31 after hitting a new 52-week high of $16.46. CBS Corp.'s stock finished up 1.4% at $14.25, while Viacom Inc. shares rose 0.6% to $31.70. Walt Disney shares declined 0.6% to $32.07.

Key European markets -- from Britain to France and Germany -- and the Japanese Nikkei index also opened 2010 with gains, with an index for European stocks finishing at a 15-month closing high.

Among European media stocks, Italy's Mediaset rose 1.2%, U.K. broadcaster ITV saw its stock rise 6.1%, and satellite TV giant BSkyB gained 0.7%.
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