Entertainment industry stocks – from Walt Disney to Comcast and Fox Corp. – fell in early Friday trading amid a broad market slide after overnight news that President Donald Trump and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19.
Market watchers said the development raises questions and a lack of clarity about the leadership of the country and next steps in the presidential election campaign. They also said that the Trumps’ infection put the spotlight back on a possible increase in U.S. COVID-19 cases during the winter season, including the possibility of renewed lockdowns, which would affect businesses.
The broad-based S&P 500 stock index shortly after the market open was trading down 1.4 percent. Many entertainment sector stocks were holding up better than the broader market though in early trading.
Hollywood giant Disney’s shares dropped 0.7 percent early in the session, while Comcast’s and Discovery’s were down 1.1 percent each, and Fox News parent Fox Corp. saw its stock decline 1.3 percent. WarnerMedia owner AT&T’s stock dropped 0.5 percent, and ViacomCBS lost 0.8 percent in value.
But the market decline also saw Netflix’s stock trade down 1.8 percent, and Twitter lost 1.7 percent of its market value, among others.
Analysts have noted that the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit TV advertising revenue at media and entertainment giants, even though the second quarter is believed to have marked the low point. Film and TV productions have also been delayed, and film releases in cinemas pushed back.