Cumulus Media Stock Is Up, Outpacing Rest of Music


Shares of Cumulus Media gained 9.7% this week, the leading stock in the Billboard Global Music Index and one of only four stocks in the 21-company index to end in positive territory Friday (June 23).

Overall, the Billboard Global Music Index declined 3.5% to 1,287.41 — more than double the 1.4% declines of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Music stocks were more in line with the Nasdaq when the overpowering effects of a small number of tech companies are removed, however. That’s because a few powerhouses — such as Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon — often account for a large fraction of the Nasdaq’s gains. To that point, QQQE, an exchange-traded fund that gives equal weight to 100 Nasdaq stocks, declined 2.9% this week.

In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 declined 2.4%. South Korea’s KOSPI index fell 2.1%. Central banks in England, Turkey and Norway raised interest rates this week. Investors can reasonably expect more rates hikes in the United States, too. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday the central bank may continue to raise rates — there have been 10 since March 2022 — but “to do so at a more moderate pace.” When central banks raise interest rates, stocks tend to fall because businesses and consumers are expected to cut back on spending and higher rates make bonds relatively more attractive to stock returns.

Cumulus Media improved to $3.40 a week and a half after the company announced it will sell about 1.75 million Class A common shares — nearly 10% of outstanding shares — at $3.25 per share in a modified Dutch auction that closed on June 9. While the sale will gross about $5.7 million, not including fees and expenses, the final result was well below the company’s goal to sell up to $10 million of shares as part of a previously announced $50 million share repurchase plan.

Shares of French music streaming company Deezer gained 3.6% to 2.32 euros ($2.54), bringing the stock’s year-to-date loss to 20.5%. U.S. streaming company LiveOne gained 3.3% to $1.58. Year-to-date, LiveOne has gained 145.3%. The only other company with a week-over-week improvement was South Korea’s HYBE, which improved 1.2% to 301,000 KRW ($236.91).

The other three Korean music companies declined this week: SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment each fell 5.6% and JYP Entertainment dropped 3.5%. Still, K-pop has been a resounding success for investors in 2023. Led by JYP Entertainment’s 93.7% year-to-date gain, the four Korean companies’ stocks have risen an average of TK% in 2023.

One company, Anghami, was unchanged and the index’s other 16 stocks were in negative territory this week. MSG Entertainment had the Billboard Global Music Index’s largest decline after dropping 17.1%. Sphere Entertainment Co., which spun off MSG Entertainment in April, intends to sell part of its 33% stake in MSG Entertainment. The news dropped the live entertainment company’s share price 12.1% on Wednesday. At Friday’s closing price, Sphere Entertainment’s sale of 5.25 million shares would gross about $170 million that could help fund the state-of-the-art Sphere at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas that’s set to open in September.

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