TV Stock Snapshot: In Search of the Floor

TV station group share prices continue to slide after a brief hesitation last week. Booting out the biggest gainer (SGA) and loser (YBTVA), TV group share prices fell roughly 10 percent from market open one week ago, when another 10 percent dip was recorded from the previous week.

Saga Communications (NYSE: SGA) posted a 291 percent increase in the wake of a 1-for-4 reverse stock split. The Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., group is predominately radio--91 stations--versus five full-power and four low-power TV stations. Young Broadcasting (OTC: YBTVA) in New York posted a hefty percentage dip primarily because its stock is trading for pennies. YBTVA was delisted by the NASDAQ last week.

Shares of News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA), parent of the Fox television properties, fell 9 percent week-over-week, but registered an 18 percent drop when the markets opened this morning after news of expected write-downs emerged. News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch last week said the global media empire intended to “manage down” staff numbers, according to the Brisbane Times. The company is freezing salaries at The Wall Street Journal, while five percent of the Fox Interactive Media workforce is in the crosshairs.

Deutsche Bank has warned that News Corp. earnings would be down as much as 22 percent this year. Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield cut his rating on NWSA from buy to sell and his outlook share price from $12 to $5.50. He estimates TV profits for the empire will drop as much as 80 percent in fiscal 2009.

NAMESymbol2/2 Open 1/26 Open% ChMktCap(mil)Saga CommunicationsSGA$4.38$1.12291%$17.36The McGraw-HillMHP$21.55$20.406%$7,079.40Equity Media Holdings Corp.EMDAQ$0.01$0.010%$0.28Gray Television, Inc.GTN$0.33$0.460%$18.75ION Media Networks Inc.IION$3.00$3.000%$205.60General Electric Co.GE$12.03$12.48-4%$121,227.10Shaw CommunicationsSJR$16.00$16.81-5%$6,886.47The Walt Disney Co.DIS$20.08$21.08-5%$37,206.17The Washington Post Co.WPO$386.00$405.25-5%$3,689.80Entravision CommunicationEVC$0.82$0.77-6%$66.87Hearst-Argyle TelevisionHTV$3.96$4.22-6%$372.99Journal CommunicationsJRN$1.80$1.96-8%$96.44Meredith Corp.MDP$15.95$17.41-8%$736.76News Corp.NWSA$6.16$6.75-9%$17,014.25CBS Corp.CBS.A$5.63$6.29-10%$3,839.67CBS Corp.CBS$5.67$6.25-10%$3,818.16Gray Television, Inc.GTN.A$1.08$1.22-11%$16.05Nexstar Broadcasting GroupNXST$0.85$0.75-12%$24.16The E.W. Scripps Co.SSP$1.53$1.73-12%$86.65Fisher CommunicationsFSCI$15.71$17.98-13%$131.03Gannett Co., Inc.GCI$5.83$6.73-13%$1,197.61Sinclair Broadcast GroupSBGI$1.82$2.10-13%$150.86ACME CommunicationsACME$0.24$0.30-20%$3.85Belo Corp.BLC$1.41$1.80-22%$152.28Media General, Inc.MEG$1.98$2.53-22%$47.14Grupo Televisa, S.A. (ADR)TV$13.80$14.88-28%$7,879.26LIN TV Corp.TVL$0.70$1.04-33%$35.96Young BroadcastingYBTVA$0.03$0.05-40%$0.59