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Cablecos sink Communications stocks’ week, with reports of slowing user growth (NASDAQ:FB)

Torsten Asmus/iStock via Getty Images

Another rough week for stocks (with a particularly rough ending) makes the competition for the Communication Services sector’s top gainer a pretty small skirmish.

Only seven of the sector’s large-cap names (market capitalization of $10 billion or more) even eked out any gain at all for the week – with dozens of others logging declines over that period.

The Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLC) slid 3.7% for the week – and it’s down 24.5% year-to-date.

The top decliners were marked by a group that’s been in decline for months: cable companies. Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) was the worst-performing Communications stock among large-caps, sliding 16.2% to a two-year low. A rough Thursday following peer Comcast’s earnings turned into a worse Friday, when Charter’s own report showed broadband user growth tailing off substantially.

(For its part, Comcast (CMCSA) also found its two-year lows along with its own earnings, and it was the fifth-worst decliner, down 12.4% for the week.)

Liberty Broadband share classes made up two of the other three names on the decliners list, with its Series C (NASDAQ:LBRDK) and Series A (LBRDA) shares down 13.3% and 13.2% for the week respectively.

The gainers list also had earnings drivers to thank. Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB) was the second-best performer, with a relief rally coming for long-suffering longs and lifting the stock 8.9% for the week, off the back of an earnings report that calmed investors prepared for the worst after last quarter.

Pinterest was the fourth-best gainer, up 4.8%, after it moved up in sympathy with Meta and on its own earnings report, where it topped revenue expectations.

And Chinese Internet names joined the gainers fun amid reports that China might back off its hardcore regulatory stance against the tech sector. Gaming company NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) was the top large-cap Communications gainer for the week, up 11%, while Baidu (BIDU) was No. 3, with an 8.4% gain.

The top five gainers over the past five sessions among large-cap Communications Services stocks and larger ($10B market cap or more):

  • NetEase (NTES), +11%;
  • Meta Platforms (FB), +8.9%;
  • Baidu (BIDU), +8.4%;
  • Pinterest (PINS), +4.8%;
  • Match Group (MTCH), +2.4%.

The top five decliners over the past five sessions among large-cap Communications Services stocks and larger ($10B market cap or more):

  • Charter Communications (CHTR), -16.2%;
  • Liberty Broadband Series C (LBRDK), -13.3%;
  • Liberty Broadband Series A (LBRDA), -13.2%;
  • Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO), -12.4%;
  • Comcast (CMCSA), -12.4%.

Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter (CHTR) are responding to the rapid growth of streaming by teaming up in a joint venture to compete with Roku, Amazon, Google and others with a new streaming hardware platform.

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