With European markets (still) closed for the Easter holiday, Wall Street enjoyed a slow Monday -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) rose 41 points as investors digested some solid earnings reports.
1. Netflix sees earnings soar while planning a subscription price increase
The biggest online streaming company, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) , announced first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations. Profit of $53 million crushed last year's $3 million, but user growth impressed most. Netflix nation is officially 48 million strong, with undoubtedly millions (billions?) more unofficial members freeloading off their friend's boyfriend's dad's username and password.
Netflix added 4 million new subscribers, including 1.75 million abroad. The huge additions prove Netflix is still growing like a growth company should, especially when compared with last year's 3.1 million additions in the first quarter. Today there are over 35 million American subscribers plus 13 million abroad.
In Ireland, Netflix made a price increase in January to test how people would respond; the reaction to the price jump was OK in the land of Guinness. So now it's going to happen here. Sometime before July, new subscribers will have to pay a buck or two more than today's $7.99-a-month rate for unlimited streaming content. It's the first price increase since 2011, and existing subscribers will still get $7.99 for a "generous period" of time.
Netflix suffered the past month as investors sold young tech stocks in favor of more boring "cash cows" that are proven profit generators. But stock of the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company is going loco since the glowing report -- up over 5% -- which should bring the year-to-date performance back into the positive.
2. Hasbro earnings saved by girls' toy sales
Play around with this: Shares of the legendary Rhode Island-based Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS ) popped 1.9% Monday after the company reported fun first-quarter earnings for the whole family. Revenues rose 2% to $679.5 million, resulting in $32.1 in earnings for the first three months of 2014. For Wall Street, that's arguably the best news out of the littlest state in the Union since the Brown men's lacrosse team beat Princeton this spring.
It's all about girls. While Nerf and Marvel products helped boost sales of boys' toys just a tad by 2%, female-focused products like My Little Pony Equestrian dolls sent girls' toy sales up 21%. And while domestically, Hasbro's toy sales slipped, consumers outside the U.S. apparently were in need of some fun, as international sales (especially in Europe and Latin America) rose 5%.
The takeaway is that it actually hasn't been fun and games for Hasbro recently. The company has been going through restructuring costs over 2013 and wasn't even profitable for the full year. Just last week, fellow toymaker Mattel reported an unexpected loss for the first quarter after unattractive holiday Barbie sales. And with more kids going for e-toys over physical ones you can hit each other with, the toy industry in general is shaping up for some change.
3. Boston Marathon helps Skechers stock win
Forget the "swoosh," because shares of Skechers (NYSE: SKX ) got a nice little publicity boost from the big race in Beantown. Shares of the shoe company sprinted up 1.9% Monday, after American runner Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon with while sporting the Skechers Gomeb 3 speed shoes that he endorses.
The takeaway is that Skechers (shockingly) weren't only relevant in the late '90s, when your little sister thought their light-up shoes worked well with back-in-style bell-bottoms. The company recently entered the performance-shoe market and signed Keflezighi up for his endorsement in 2011, introducing a line of "GOrun" sneakers later that same year. While the women's race was won in Nike shoes, the Cali-based Skechers hopes this finally gives credibility to its running line.
- Existing-home sales
- First-quarter earnings reports: Harley-Davidson, McDonald's, Yum! Brands
MarketSnacks Fact of the Day: Chipotle evaluates each location based on the "Burrito Velocity" of its meal-making assembly lines -- the fastest restaurants complete 350 transactions per hour during lunch time (or six transactions per minute) compared with the national average of 115 per hour.
As originally published on MarketSnacks.com
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