Broader stock indices extended their recent upswings despite pervasive gloom and doom in the forecast, with the Dow 30 climbing 2% and the NASDAQ rising 4% for the day.
Investors have singled out Netflix and Amazon for their respective market positions and execution during the time of COVID-19. Netflix stock rose 4% to $413.55 on above-average volume, while Amazon’s finished at $2,283.32, up 5%, also on better-than-average volume. Amazon is up 24% in 2020 to date, while Netflix has gained 25% in that span.
Both companies will report first-quarter earnings this month, with the period showing the effects of the coronavirus, which put large swaths of the world into lockdown starting several weeks ago. Given its longtime lead in direct-to-consumer streaming, bench of hundreds of original shows and movies, and global footprint, Netflix has so far withstood the shutdown in production. The increase in overall streaming hours per household has also benefited the company given its status as a well-established brand. Disney, Comcast, WarnerMedia and Apple are all in the process of launching direct-to-consumer challenges to Netflix.
In Amazon’s case, streaming is not hugely relevant to investors’ bull case. The tech giant has benefited from its role as a major delivery conduit for basic consumer goods at a time when physical retail stores are under a dark cloud caused by the coronavirus. Its web services unit is also powering a range of digital platforms at a moment of secular shift toward digital workflows, which had already been under way but should only accelerate due to the virus. Its stock has posted gains despite some high-profile labor and logistics issues that have demonstrated the challenge of meeting such historic global consumer need.
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