The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
The streaming wars left a crater in Netflix's stock price Wednesday after the company reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter. Shares plunged 35 percent, wiping out $50 billion in value in a single day, and marking the streamer's worst day on Wall Street since 2004. While analysts were expecting subscriber growth to slow given increasingly fierce competition from the likes of Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Paramount, the steep drop-off was a surprise and a signal that the streaming market may be bumping up against its limit. Netflix is also the second FANG stock (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) to endure a brutal sell-off this year. Meta dropped 26 percent back in February, lopping off $232 billion in value from its market cap. The other members of the tech giant-quartet, which has been a reliable investment for several years now, are set to release their earnings next week. So we'll know soon if the bearish contagion spreads.
- Netflix's loss is HBO Max's gain, it seems, as the Warner-owned streaming platform reported a three million subscriber increase from last quarter and a 12.8 million year-over-year increase, bringing its total to 76.8 million.
- Netflix, for what it's worth, has 221 million subscribers, so the OG streamer is still very much in the top spot. We'll see how long Netflix stays King of the Hill (a show that happens to not be on Netflix but rather the Disney-owned Hulu service).
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, has placed himself firmly among the bears…
TESLA EARNINGS IMPRESS
Maybe Musk was just feeling himself after a Tesla earnings report knocked it out of the park this week. The company reported a record profit of $3.3 billion in the quarter, and Musk projected that the company would produce 1.5 million vehicles in 2022. That's a 60 percent jump from last year, despite signals in the report that supply chain issues were finally catching up with the EV maker and could curb production in the next quarter. The stock jumped around 3 percent on the news, and Tesla bulls rejoiced.
More Musk media moments:
- Musk's Twitter takeover saga continued with the announcement that he was exploring a tender offer for $46.5 billion with roughly half of the money coming from Morgan Stanley and the other half coming out of Musk's exceedingly deep pockets.
- Musk once again made the bold claim that Tesla's still-in-development humanoid robot, Optimus, "will be worth more than the car business" in the coming years.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
While Netflix plunged and Tesla popped, the rest of the stock market was a similarly mixed bag. Used-car retailer Carvana reported its first-ever quarterly sales decline, and the stock fell as much as 24 percent after-hours on Wednesday before leveling off. On the same day, United Airlines forecasted it would be turning a profit in 2022, sending shares up nearly 18 percent, as investors anticipated a resurgent airline industry this summer. Bank of America shares jumped on an earnings beat, and Charles Schwab shares fell after missing analyst estimates. Shares of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi, meanwhile, sank on the news that it plans to delist from the New York Stock Exchange before finding another venue for its U.S. shares.
MORE FED RATE HIKES
When Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks, markets listen, and this week the country's top banker hinted in recent months that sharp interest rate hikes are coming. He even signaled that a half-point increase was on the table, putting him in line with some of the more hawkish Fed governors who have been calling for faster, steeper hikes to rein in inflation.
- Powell's comments were a drag on the price of bitcoin, another sign that the leading cryptocurrency is more of a risk asset than the inflation hedge some claim it to be.
- They also didn't move the needle on long-term inflation expectations, suggesting that rate hikes are not the only factor behind whether prices rise or fall.
RISE OF THE DOLLAR
One beneficiary of looming rate hikes is the U.S. dollar. The dollar index (DXY), which tracks the dollar's value against other major currencies, hit a two-year high this week. The U.S. dollar is up 12 percent from last year, and other currencies are sinking against it, with the Japanese yen, in particular, tumbling to a 20-year low.