Media Stocks End Dour Week Marred By COVID-19 Spike: Cinemark, Facebook, Netflix Losers Friday

Stocks acclerated their downward trajectory Friday as the coronavirus ratcheted up with media shares following the market lower.

The DJIA closed out the week down a hefty 730 points, or 2.8% in Friday’s session. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped, respectively, 2.4% and 2.6% for the day.

Exhibitors lost more ground with the summer release schedule again in flux and states including New York balking at opening movie theaters as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country have investors and the nation on edge. Texas and Florida ordered bars closed and Texas placed new restrictions on other businesses. California’s governor reinstated restrictions in the state’s worst hit county – Imperial County near San Diego.

Cinemark was particularly hard hit with shares down nearly 8%. Imax dipped 2.9%.

Disney closed down 2% as it indefinitely postponed plans to reopen Disneyland. Netflix, generally the strongest stock in the media sector during the pandemic, dropped nearly 5%.

Facebook fell more than 8% as a string of advertisers – the latest being Unilever and Verizon – boycotted the site. The Anti-Defamation League organized the walkout over the social media giant’s handling of posts by President Donald Trump and its overall approach to content moderation. Attempting damage control, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an employee town hall meeting Friday that the company is now banning a wider category of hateful content in ads.

Not much in media was spared. AMC Networks fell more than 7%, Discovery dropped 4%, Fox 3.7%.

Others well in the in red included Twitter, which lost more than 7%, and iHeart Media, down more than 8%.

Banks were in part responsible for dragging the broader indexes lower on a stress test by the Fed to make sure their balance sheets were strong. It showed some may struggle during the pandemic. The central bank put restrictions on financial sector stock buybacks and dividends.

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