stocks

Stock Market Today: Snap Soars, Netflix Nosedives as Stocks Sit and Wait

Stocks mostly treaded water Wednesday as stimulus negotiations continued, but Snap (SNAP) and Netflix (NFLX) provided some fireworks.

Stocks largely remained in limbo Wednesday as Washington continued negotiating to pass a stimulus bill ahead of the Nov. 3 elections.

The Federal Reserve kept the pressure on, insisting yet again that the economy needs another relief measure. "Apart from the course of the virus itself, the most significant downside risk to my outlook would be the failure of additional fiscal support to materialize," Fed Governor Lael Brainard said to the U.K.'s Society of Professional Economists on Wednesday. "Too little support would lead to a slower and weaker recovery."

But the market wasn't light on action.

Social app Snap (SNAP, +28.3%) rocketed higher following a surprise adjusted quarterly profit. Its report also signaled a "bonanza for online advertising," according to Deutsche Bank, that lifted competitors such as Facebook (FB, +4.2%) and Pinterest (PINS, +9.0%).

“We continue to like Snap shares, despite the (large stock-price move Wednesday), and see upside potential to the company’s 47-50% growth comments for 4Q given the improving ad environment and the company’s strong positioning into 4Q,” writes Lloyd Walmsley, who upgraded his price target from $32 per share to 440.

Netflix (NFLX, -6.9%), on the other hand, sagged on worse-than-expected Q3 earnings and subscriber totals. The company's 2.2 million net subscribers were below both its own previous forecast and Wall Street's models, while earnings of $1.74 per share were well below estimates for $2.13.

“Content migration to competing services and price hikes may slow subscriber growth,” writes Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter (Underperform), “and historically negative (free cash flow) with minimal commitment to positive FCF ahead makes DCF valuation speculative.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.4% lower to 28,210.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 edged 0.2% lower to 3,435.
  • The Nasdaq Composite drifted 0.3% lower to 11,484.
  • The Russell 2000 took a larger tumble, dropping 0.9% to 1,603.

The economy remains maddeningly socially distanced from either an all-clear signal and a tornado siren. Scott Knapp, chief market strategist at CUNA Mutual Group, is looking at the financial sector's recent results as a proxy for the overall economy:

"The sector is passing the test overall, but individually it's a mixed bag … the canary in the coalmine is chirping, but not very loudly – and I'll be watching to see if this continues."

Wall Street might be stuck in wait-and-see mode, but you don't have to wait and see as it pertains to building your long-term wealth.

We've recently begun our annual look at the most popular funds in 401(k) accounts, starting with Vanguard's large suite of buy-and-hold products.

Now, we move on to the stock-picking experts at Fidelity. As Kiplinger's senior associate editor Nellie Huang writes, "The firm is home to some of the industry's best fund managers ever" – and it shows both in the popularity and performance of its funds. Read on as we analyze and rank each of Fidelity's actively managed funds that are popular in 401(k) retirement accounts, including its target-date products.

Kyle Woodley was long FB as of this writing

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