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Media Stocks Break Out On AT&T-Time Warner Go-Ahead

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The first day of trading for media stocks since yesterdays landmark approval of AT&Ts merger with Time Warner is seeing large gains for 21st Century Fox, CBS, Discovery and, of course, Time Warner.

AT&T Stock
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As the acquired company, Time Warner is receiving a customary boost, with shares up 3% to $93.30. Volume is five times the normal level as 20 months of pent-up anticipation from investors is finally being released. AT&T is facing the usual headwinds that hit the acquiring company. Its shares are down nearly 5%, to $32.72. They have slumped more than 12% since the $85 billion merger was announced in October 2016. Comcast, similarly, has slipped nearly 2% to $31.81 in anticipation of its potential big buys of Fox and European pay-TV giant Sky.

Fox has risen sharply, climbing nearly 8% to $43.31, on expectations of a Comcast offer to compete with Disneys coming any minute. Disney stock, which took a big hit after hours yesterday on news of the judges decision in the AT&T-DOJ lawsuit (with investors fearing for the security of its $52.4 billion bid for Fox), has rebounded today. Shares are up about 2.5% to $106.83.

The likely M&A free-for-all set in motion by the AT&T ruling will make attractive targets out of companies like CBS, though it remains in a legal fight with controlling shareholder National Amusements over merger talks with Viacom. CBS shares were up about 4% this morning, to $54.47, though trading volume was much lighter than average. Lionsgate, another of the so-called “free radicals” floating around the media space, has also gone up 4% today, to $25.07.

Discovery, which just digested its purchase of Scripps Networks Interactive, is another notable gainer today, up 4% to $25.05.

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