Discovery, A&T Shares Buck Sharp Market Downturn In Volatile First Day Of 2021 Trading

Shares of Discovery, which launched its new global streaming service today, and WarnerMedia parent AT&T, were standouts among media stocks Monday as the market seesawed.

Discovery was up by 1%, as Discovery+ debuted as a comfort-food, non-scripted alternative to rival services that rolled out throughout the past year. The direct-to-consumer platform, which features both known and new and content from 14 core Discovery brands, also announced expanded distribution partnerships in Europe and the U.S.

AT&T firmed by 1.4%, buoyed by a bullish note from Wall Street firm Raymond James. Analyst Frank Louthan said “there is more that can go right during the next 12 months than can get worse for AT&T,” noting the solid dividend and anticipating a subscriber uptick at HBO Max. Warner Bros. plans to release its 2021 film slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters to boost the service in an increasingly crowded market let by Netflix and Disney+. He sees an 11% upside for the stock, which was one of Deadline’s worst performers in media, entertainment and tech in 2020.

Both stocks were outliers in a broad market selloff that repped one of the worst starts in years for key indexes. Pundits cited investor jitters over the rapid rise in U.S. Covid-19 infections, a sluggish vaccine rollout and the Georgia senate runoff elections tomorrow. Still, the reversal was surprising since stock futures had been up and the DJIA opened higher before the plunging more than 700 points. Market players seemed divided on whether today ‘s losses are a blip or could be extended.

At mid-afternoon, the DJIA was down 486 points or 1.59% and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 down by about 1.6%. Discovery and AT&T were rare stocks not in the red.

Comcast was down by 4.27% and Walt Disney by 1.89%. Sports-centric streamer Fubo plunged 16%. Stay-at-home stocks from Netflix (down nearly 4%) to Peloton (off nearly 5%) got slammed along with high flyers from Amazon (down 2.2%) to Roku (off 3.8%). Popular punching bags like cruise lines Carnival and Norwegian extended losses.

Tesla, which announced record deliveries this morning, was one of the only big gainers, up more than 4%.

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