Tuesday morning brought some relief for investors, as major benchmarks gained ground even though the beginning of earnings season didn't exactly go according to plan. Big banking institutions were among the first to announce their first-quarter results, and disappointing profits raised concerns about the outlook for the industry throughout 2020. Yet that still didn't hold back the rest of the market. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 447 points to 23,838. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 62 points to 2,824, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) picked up 248 points to 8,441.
The companies that have done the best lately have business models that are able to weather the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and their shares are reflecting that success. For Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), having lots of people stuck at home means more viewing that could produce more revenue. For Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), the need for businesses of all types and sizes to establish an online presence has never been greater.
Roku racks up a win
Shares of Roku rose 9% Tuesday morning after the company announced its preliminary first-quarter financial results. The streaming television provider has seen some positive trends during the coronavirus pandemic that speak well to its future prospects.
Roku had 39.8 million active accounts as of the end of March, up by almost 3 million just since the end of 2019. What's really astounding, though, is that Roku saw the number of hours of streamed content rise by nearly half to 13.2 billion. That gain came despite measures that the company put in place to avoid counting hours when viewers aren't actively watching the service.
Roku directly attributed the growth to the rise of sheltering at home. As a result, it sees revenue coming in between $307 million and $317 million for the first quarter, which is slightly higher than it had anticipated.
That said, Roku remained reluctant to forecast how long the pandemic would last and what long-term impact it would have on its business, and so it chose to withdraw its full-year 2020 outlook. Nevertheless, with consumers jumping onto the platform, Roku has a chance to make an impression that could last long after the coronavirus lockdowns have ended.
Shopify-ing small business
Shares of Shopify were up 7%, following a trend among software-as-a-service companies in general. The e-commerce specialist has struck a chord with small businesses looking for ways to keep operating in the coronavirus-stressed economic environment.
Shopify's stock has been volatile in recent months, with countervailing factors pulling the share price in either direction. On one hand, demand from new business customers seeking to get their operations online has helped drive traffic to Shopify. The company has responded by extending longer free trials to encourage new clients to come on board, as well as offering other benefits to new and existing customers alike.
However, Shopify also faces the potential for sales declines if existing customers aren't able to weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. It's too early to tell whether Shopify's churn rates will rise if unsuccessful business owners pull the plug on their subscriptions, but as financial efforts to support small businesses become more readily available, they could help Shopify's clients stay the course.
Shopify wants to democratize e-commerce for all. That's a compelling message, especially now, and it's one that could help reward shareholders -- as well as Shopify clients -- in the months and years to come.