Nat'l CineMedia sinks 17%


Shares of National CineMedia dropped 17% on Wednesday to $20.87, a new low. The drop-off came after Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Lloyd Walmsley cut National CineMedia's rating to "market weight" citing uncertainty surrounding the company's agreement to take over ad inventory for Loews screens in 2008.

National CineMedia is taking the Loews inventory from Screenvision as part of an agreement with AMC Entertainment, but the analyst said Screenvision might use the inventory as a "competitive weapon" against National CineMedia by selling bundled packages at cheap rates. "If Screenvision has sold most of the inventory, National CineMedia will be unable to capitalize on the new inventory," Walmsley said.