Disney Drives Dow As Netflix Plummets

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

In a piece I wrote yesterday, I began by emphasizing how important Tuesday's payroll data were going to be in determining the course of today's market. And I was right. Billions upon billions of dollars changed hands today as a direct result of the Labor Department report. However, I'm not tooting my own horn here; couldn't toot my own horn if I tried -- Wall Street's stolen my horn and banned me from tooting it today. I'm left without my proverbial brass instrument because I reasoned that stocks would probably fall today in the case of disappointing September payrolls. Instead the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) added 75 points, or 0.5%, to end at 15.467.

September payrolls weren't merely bad; they were borderline disastrous, as the workforce expanded by 148,000 in September. With consensus estimates calling for 180,000, these figures show us that the economy was already puttering along before the government shutdown. So is Wall Street blind? Only to institutions not named the Federal Reserve, which the market is betting will keep bankrolling the economy indefinitely as the U.S. staggers toward economic normality. 

Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) stock was the top performer in the Dow, jumping 2.1% today. Disney shareholders can be forgiven for thinking they're in a fairytale themselves, as the stock has soared nearly 40% this year alone. Disney is branding power personified, in a stock. It's able to charge higher and higher fees to cable companies year after year because the strength of its network portfolio, which includes the likes of ABC and ESPN. Shares hit an all-time high today. 

Mimicking the Dow's befuddling reaction to poor news, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) shares sold off heavily after posting blowout quarterly earnings. Shares plummeted 9.2% today, just after surging more than 6% yesterday and rallying as much as 10% after hours Monday. The confusing roller-coaster ride Netflix investors have been on in the past 24 hours could be classified as a "dark cerebral thriller," as the initial excitement over Netflix's success soured upon a downgrade from Bank of America and subsequent comments from Netflix's own CEO, Reed Hastings, who decried the nascent rally as "euphoria."

But Netflix wasn't the only stock on a vertiginous decline, as E-Commerce China Dangdang (NYSE: DANG  ) shares shed 13.4% Tuesday. Stock in the online Chinese retailer is one of the more volatile investment vehicles in the equity market as a whole, boasting a "beta" of 5.2. Beta is a ratio that measures a stock's theoretical volatility in relation to a benchmark index, implying Dangdang shares are five times more volatile than the broader market. Such sensitivity doesn't bode well for shareholders when Dangdang revises sales estimates downwards, as it did yesterday.

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