Positive employment data released on Friday by the Labor Department helped boost entertainment stocks this week. The Labor Dept. said U.S. employers added 162,000 jobs in March - the biggest gain since December 2007 - and that the unemployment rate was flat at 9.7%.

Live Nation's stock price has performed especially well recently. Live Nation is up 8.1% over the last 13.6% over the last five trading days. In contrast, the NYSE composite is up nearly 2% over the last five trading days while the NASDAQ composite is up just 1.5% during that span.

Last week, word started to spread that Live Nation had laid off 100 employees, but those cuts were expected. Company executives have repeatedly said they plan to experience $40 million in cost synergies in 2010, and eliminating redundant positions is the most obvious way of realizing cost synergies. Thus, the market should have already priced in those layoffs.

Industry speculation may be a factor in the recent rise. As Billboard's Ray Waddell reported on Tuesday, Live Nation is expected to promote fewer low-margin shows at small clubs than in recent years. It takes no stretch of the imagination to think investors would welcome a shift in resources toward higher-margin events. Even so, talent buyers and marketers were not part of the recent round of layoffs. Warner Music Group has nearly matched Live Nation's recent run, gaining 5.1% this week and 11.2% over the last five trading days. Warner's share price is far above its 52-week low of $2.71.

Retailer stocks are improving as well. Trans World is up over 5% in the five trading days. More impressive is the stock's 38% rise in the last 30 days. Other entertainment retailers have posted big gains in the last five day period: Borders is up nearly 25% (on Monday it announced a new term loan and revolving credit facility), Hastings is up over 13%. Although Barnes & Noble has not performed well over the last week, its share price is up over 15% year to date.

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