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Media, Internet stocks turn red following earnings reports

Media and communications stocks had a wild week as investors digested earnings results from several sectors, and the trend from the television space was not positive.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. was one of the hardest hit. That company actually beat consensus estimates in its Aug. 2 earnings release, with EPS of 43 cents per share against expectations of 40 cents, according to S&P Capital IQ. But the company reported a decline in second-quarter core broadcast advertising revenue, hitting the low end of guidance, and issued a third-quarter forecast for "flattish" advertising revenue.

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Sinclair shares cratered 15.6% for the five trading days ended Aug. 4.

TEGNA Inc. also felt the heat. It reported GAAP EPS of 23 cents per share against an S&P Capital IQ consensus mean of 27 cents per share on July 31. Revenue growth was driven by subscriptions and digital products, the company's executives said an Aug. 1 earnings call, offset by lower advertising and marketing revenue. Tegna shares dove 12.9% for the trading week ended Aug. 4.

E.W. Scripps Co. and Gray Television Inc. also caught the attention of the bears, with shares dropping 9.9% and 10.3% for the week, respectively.

Viacom Inc. beat consensus estimates, reporting Aug. 3 GAAP EPS of $1.70 against expectations of $1.11. However, the company recorded a 2% decline in domestic advertising revenues even as it raised prices on ad units. Much of the company's financial gains were attributed to digital channels.

Viacom shares fell 15.3% by the end of the week as over-the-top digital revenues were called into question and some analyst recommended the company look for an acquirer.

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Network owner Discovery Communications Inc. also got burnt during the week after a July 31 merger announcement and a July 31 earnings release.

The company plans to buy Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in a $14.6 billion deal, expanding its programming lineup to about 300,000 hours per year, including 8,000 hours of original content.

On earnings, Discovery saw second-quarter net income drop 8% to $374 million, or 64 cents per share, against an S&P Capital IQ consensus EPS estimate of 68 cents.
Investors bailed out, pushing Discovery shares down by 11.5% for the five trading days ended Aug. 4. For its part, Scripps Networks Interactive shares edged up about 0.4% for the week.

Television names were not the only companies that felt the heat: theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. reported results well below expectations as the 2017 box office has floundered compared to the prior year. The company previewed its earnings, showing a big loss of $1.35 per share, and said it plans to cut costs and save the company $30 million in adjusted EBITDA. AMC added the third quarter also looked troubled.

With theater chains already fighting flat or declining admissions and a difficult 2017 turnout, investors dumped AMC to the tune of 20.7% for the five trading days.

Looking at internet companies, Amazon.com Inc. and Pandora Media Inc. saw their market caps flag for the week ended Aug. 4.

Amazon reported earnings well below consensus, citing increased expenses as the reason that EPS clocked at 40 cents per share, about a dollar below consensus expectations. The miss came despite 25% sales growth. Amazon shares dropped 3.2% for the trading week.

Pandora also missed consensus expectations, reporting a GAAP loss per share of $1.20 on an estimated loss of 48 cents per share, according to S&P Capital IQ. The company topped short interest charts as shares slid 10.5% for the five days ended Aug. 4.

The media markets were not all red for the week.

Apple Inc. reported EPS of $1.67 against a consensus forecast of $1.57. Groupon Inc. reported a GAAP loss of 2 cents per share and adjusted EPS of 2 cents per share, while consensus estimates were for a loss of 4 cents GAAP and 0 cents adjusted.

Apple shares gained 4.6% while Groupon shares jumped 8.4% for the five days ended Aug. 4.