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Investing  | April 6, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has dragged down stock prices across the board, and media and entertainment stocks are no exception. While some media and entertainment businesses have ground to a complete halt due to the economic shutdown, others are thriving from a surge in at-home business.

CFRA recently assessed the media and entertainment landscape in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and analysts updated their takes on some popular stocks in the group. CFRA said companies that rely heavily on public gatherings and carry the most debt are most at risk, while others should have no problem navigating the current environment.

Here are seven media and entertainment stocks to buy, sell and hold, according to CFRA.

Comcast Corporation - Buy

Analyst Tuna Amobi said Comcast is one of the rare winners from the COVID-19 outbreak given its cable and satellite business is likely getting a huge boost from Americans stuck in their homes. Comcast also has a relatively high A- S&P credit rating, suggesting its balance sheet is healthy.

Comcast’s Universal Studios postponed the release date of its upcoming “Fast and Furious” movie for another year, and the movie studio business could take a hit. However, Amobi says Comcast should make it through the shutdown just fine in the long term.

CFRA has a Strong Buy rating and $54 price target for CMCSA stock.

Walt Disney Co - Buy

Segments of Disney’s businesses, including its theme parks, movie studios and cruise lines, are certainly getting hammered by the economic shutdown. However, large-scale home confinement could be a major boost for Disney+, which launched back in November.

Streaming video is one of the few remaining sources of entertainment for many Americans who might not have otherwise tried out Disney+. Amobi says COVID-19 is a net positive for Disney in that respect, and new Disney CEO Robert Chapek should bring some desirable skills to the table as Disney works to update its business model.

CFRA has a Buy rating and $160 price target for DIS stock.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc - Buy

AMC shares are down more than 71% year-to-date and are trading at around $2 after COVID-19 completely shut down the movie theater business. It looks like AMC won’t be opening up its theater doors until the end of April at the earliest. While the company’s near-term outlook is dicey at best, Amobi said the stock is a compelling value at current levels. Prior to the outbreak, CFRA was projecting a 2.5% revenue decline in 2020 followed by a 1.3% gain in 2021.

CFRA has a Buy rating and $8 price target for AMC stock.

Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. - Buy

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, live entertainment ticketing company Live Nation was firing on all cylinders. There’s no reason why the company can’t eventually return to that level, but investors may need to be patient.

It may be June or later before large events and shows are back on the calendar, and it may take many more months for customers to be financially able and willing to gather in large numbers without fear of infection. Investors must hope the broad self-isolation will make stir-crazy Americans desperate to get out of the house and go back to normal social events at the earliest possible opportunity.

CFRA has a Buy rating and $65 price target for LYV stock.

Madison Square Garden Co - Hold

Like AMC, all of Madison Square Garden’s events are on hold until at least the end of the month. However, the company recently announced a $400 million sale of the LA Forum to Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. The valuation of the deal and the cash infusion is reassuring to MSG investors and should help boost the company’s liquidity as it navigates the COVID-19 shutdown.

In the long term, the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and Madison Square Garden Arena are all extremely valuable and productive New York City assets that should continue to create value for investors. However, investors may want to stay on the sidelines for now given none of these assets are generating cash flow at the moment.

CFRA has a Hold rating and $325 price target for MSG stock.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd - Sell

Few stocks may have their businesses permanently impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, but cruise lines may be one.

A disproportionately large percentage of Royal Caribbean’s customers are retirees, the age demographic that is most at-risk from COVID-19. Even once travel bans are lifted, airlines will likely see their business return much sooner than cruise lines given there are plenty of reasons to fly other than vacations. Slumping demand in the near-term could trigger extreme pricing discounts, which could eat into margins and cash flow.

CFRA has a Sell rating and $100 price target for RCL stock.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. - Sell

Not only are all of Las Vegas Sands’ U.S. casinos shut down indefinitely, the company has a heavy debt load that could start to come into play as the crisis drags on. Las Vegas Sands barely survived the 2008 financial crisis thanks to its debt, which now stands at $12.5 billion.

Las Vegas Sands currently pays an 8.4% dividend, but a dividend cut could be the company’s first line of defense against financial hardship. Casinos in Macau, China are back up and running after a COVID-19 shutdown, but Macau gross gaming revenue plummeted nearly 80% in the month of March.

CFRA has a Sell rating and $62 price target for LVS stock.

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