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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: Antioco Optimistic About Stocks Despite Tragedy

13 Sep, 2001 By: Joan Villa

As the country waits for financial markets to reopen, Blockbuster's chairman and c.e.o. John Antioco says he doesn't believe video stocks will be “particularly vulnerable” to investor jitters.

Most foreign markets lost between 5% and 9% of their value on the first trading day after attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon halted U.S. trading, leading to fears that American stocks could also be battered by a rash of selling.

“Obviously you never like to see downward momentum in the market because that can never be good for any stock,” Antioco says. “I'm not of a camp that based on impact on consumer confidence, that this is going to make the economy worse a lot quicker. I have a feeling it could have even the opposite effect with people taking more galvanizing and aggressive action to work together worldwide to help stimulate the economy.”

Reached in a Boston hotel room awaiting the reopening of the nation's airports so he could return to Dallas headquarters, Antioco insists it's a “stretch” to think consumer confidence will be eroded by the terrorist attack. “I'm not buying into that at this point,” he says. Rather, the threat of recession could drive many stocks downward but bode well for video companies.

“I don't think video rental stocks should be particularly vulnerable,” he adds. “Considering the value to consumers it may provide an alternative to more expensive forms of entertainment that they may want to cut back on.”

According to the latest reports, financial markets will be open Monday at the soonest and it may be later than that. Blockbuster's shares closed at $18.35 on Sept. 10, the last trading session before the following day's terrorist attack that closed U.S. markets.

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