Sony Shares Hit 52-Week Low Amid Global Market Sell-Off

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UPDATED: The stocks of entertainment conglomerates Walt Disney and Time Warner are now down for the year-to-date period, News Corp. closed at the same price as at the end of 2010, while CBS Corp. and Viacom remain ahead of their 2010 closing prices.

NEW YORK — Sony Corp.'s U.S.-listed shares hit a 52-week low on Thursday and fellow Hollywood biggies Walt Disney and Time Warner finished the day below their 2010 closing prices amid a broad stock market decline due to economic concerns that also dragged down other entertainment conglomerates.

The Thursday drop, which was the largest for the broad-based S&P 500 since February 2009 and caused the stock index to lose 4.8 percent, pushed all three major U.S. indexes to the point where all their 2011 gains were wiped out. It also put Wall Street into what experts call “correction” territory — a 10 percent-20 percent fall off the last market peak. Other markets around the world also fell sharply.

Amid concerns of a potential relapse of the U.S. economy into another recession, sector stocks had already declined in recent days, and Wall Street observers have discussed the potential impact of the economic worries on the advertising market.

Sony's American depositary shares on Thursday dropped 6.5 percent to $23.35 after hitting a 52-week low of $23.32. The stock, already hit by the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and PlayStation Network hacking, is now down 34.6 percent in 2011.

Disney lost 5.6 percent, and Time Warner declined 4.6 percent, putting both stocks into negative territory for the year to-date. At $32.02, TW shares fell just minimally below the $32.17 where they had ended 2010. Disney is now 5.8 percent down for the year though at $35.35. 

CBS Corp., which is the most ad-driven entertainment giant, saw its stock fall more than its peers — 9.3 percent — to $24.21 after recently hovering near the $30 mark. But the stock remains ahead of its 2010 close - by 27.1 percent. Analysts said after the company's latest earnings report Tuesday that CBS has made great progress toward diversifying its revenue sources, but some highlighted that advertising remains the largest revenue stream at more than 60 percent.

Shares of Viacom, which just like CBS Corp. is controlled by Sumner Redstone, decreased 6.1 percent, but they remain up 11.3 percent for the year.

Among other Hollywood conglomerates, News Corp. dropped 6.7 percent, ending the day at $14.56 - exactly the same price at which they had ended 2010.


Twitter: @georgszalai