Financial markets seesawed Thursday in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with media stocks mostly finishing the day in positive territory after a sharply lower open.
The Dow Industrial Average fell as much as 2.6% in early trading. Markets turned higher in the afternoon after President Biden announced more severe U.S. sanctions against Russia for the military aggression against Ukraine.
Two of the biggest gainers on the day were Netflix, which closed up 6.1%, and Lionsgate, up 9.8%. Also finishing in positive territory were Disney (+2.4%); Paramount (+2.3%), formerly known as ViacomCBS; Comcast (+2.0%); and AMC Networks (+2.6%).
Among the losers: Discovery, which fell 1.7% Thursday, and AT&T (-1.2%), which is in the process of spinning off WarnerMedia to combine it with Discovery. Prior to the market’s open, Discovery reported results for the fourth quarter of 2021, with net income dropping sharply on higher costs for streaming content and merger-related expenses. On the call, CEO David Zaslav sought to reassure investors that the combined Warner Bros. Discovery wouldn’t engage in a content-spending “war” against rivals.
On the tech stocks front, a big gainer was Roku, which closed up 14%. The streaming platform company’s stock lift came after a steep 20%-plus decline last week after it missed Q4 revenue expectations and warned of slowing growth into 2022.