The Week Ahead: Netflix awaits investor reviews

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In the week ahead, technology investors will be doing what millions of people do each night – watching Netflix.

The media streaming company is one of the so-called FAANG stocks – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google. Four of them were among the biggest contributors to the stock market rally in 2019.

Netflix was outlier. It’s the smallest company of the group, and its 20% rally last year was the worst of the quintet. (The fact that 20% was the worst performance tells us a lot about the investor appetite for these big tech stocks.)

Netflix’s pioneering Internet streaming business has attracted big-pocketed competitors. Amazon has been one for a few years through its Prime Video service. Apple and Disney have recently launched their own video subscription platforms. The traditional cable TV service providers like AT&T and Comcast are experimenting with their own services.

Netflix is scheduled to announce its fourth quarter financial results on Tuesday. How the company handled the introduction of Baby Yoda and Disney+ during the quarter is important, and how it will meet the coming competition from new streaming services like HBO Max and Warner Bros. Studios will help shape investor expectations for future growth.

International audiences hold the key for subscriber growth for Netflix. Investment bank Stifel figures the company’s reaches more than half of U.S. households, yet barely a third in Latin America and only a fifth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The 24 Oscar nominations announced last week of Netflix films are impressive for movie lovers. But long-term investors know not to confuse critical acclaim with strategic acumen.


Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of “Nightly Business Report” on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.

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