Friday saw a breakout session for the stock market, as major benchmarks like the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite set record highs. For the broad-based S&P 500, the record was the first it had set since early this year, and for many investors, it served as confirmation that the bull market in stocks could continue as it approaches its 10th anniversary in early 2019. Several positive news items from individual companies also helped lead indexes higher. Netflix (NFLX -1.13%), Autodesk (ADSK -0.01%), and Veeva Systems (VEEV -0.03%) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.
Netflix gets a vote of confidence -- mostly
Shares of Netflix climbed 6% after the streaming video company got generally positive comments from a major analyst company. Analysts at SunTrust upgraded their rating on the stock from hold to buy, arguing that its early read on the third quarter indicates that viewership numbers appear more favorable than they were in the second quarter. For U.S. investors, it might seem surprising that the analyst blamed the World Cup as a detractor from Netflix's performance in the second quarter, but globally, the soccer spectacle draws billions of fans who would otherwise stream content from Netflix. The only negative in SunTrust's remarks was that it cut its price target on the stock by $5 to $410 per share, but that still leaves plenty of upside for the streaming giant.
Autodesk makes a beat-and-raise
Autodesk stock jumped 15% in the wake of strong fundamental performance in the company's second-quarter financial report. The design software provider said that overall sales climbed 22% from year-ago levels, with its key subscription plan annualized recurring revenue figures more than doubling over the same period. Overall, 290,000 new subscribers joined Autodesk's plans over the past three months, representing a gain of more than 10%, and the company specifically said that its initiative to get its existing maintenance subscribers to switch to the product subscription plan succeeded in getting more than 117,000 customers to switch. With Autodesk also projecting better results for the full year, investors are excited about the company's prospects.
Viva for Veeva!
Finally, shares of Veeva Systems finished higher by 12%. The provider of software-as-a-service offerings primarily for pharmaceutical customers posted a 25% rise in overall revenue on a similar-sized jump in sales from subscription services, and adjusted net income soared almost 70% compared to the year-earlier period. Yet one of Veeva's biggest successes was its progress toward expanding its addressable audience, with a host of products designed to appeal to users outside of the life sciences industry. Having had so much success in its core business, if Veeva can translate its strong showing into other types of customers, then it could lead to further acceleration in growth over the next several years, and investors are excited about what that could mean for the stock price.