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Netflix Dazzles on Big Nasdaq Up Day; Stern Hopes for Sirius XM

By Dan Caplinger – Oct 7, 2020 at 4:44PM

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You don't necessarily get what you'd expect from an index.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) bounced back on Wednesday, clawing its way back from its abrupt losses late in the previous session. A more ameliorative tone from the White House and signs of progress on the coronavirus front gave investors some confidence that they didn't have this time yesterday. By the end of the day, the composite index was up around 2%.

Prominent stocks saw bigger gains. Among the best-known advancers were Netflix (NFLX -2.24%) and Sirius XM (SIRI -2.86%), which are both taking steps to try to lock in more subscribers and give the public the entertainment it wants.

A pretty picture at Netflix

Shares of Netflix picked up almost 6% on Wednesday. The video streaming company has had huge success in pandemic-plagued 2020, and stock analysts are starting to take note.

Graphic television with Netflix logo and promo.

Image source: Netflix.

The latest bull to boost its views on Netflix was Pivotal Research. The analyst company kept its buy rating on the stock, and it raised its price target by $50 to $650. That establishes a new high-water mark for analyst views of the streaming sensation.

Its business model has always supported its efforts. As Pivotal sees it, subscription revenue enables Netflix to create new content, which in turn brings in new subscribers and boosts revenue. Moreover, with better content comes more pricing power, and Pivotal expects Netflix to pull the trigger on significant subscription price increases at some point.

It'll take sustained long-term growth to justify Netflix's current valuation. Nevertheless, that's not stopping Wall Street from having ever-higher expectations for the entertainment giant.

Solving a Sirius problem

On the nonvideo side of the media and entertainment industry, Sirius XM saw its stock pick up nearly 5%. Shares have been volatile as the company negotiates with arguably its most important talent.

Investors reacted positively to reports that the satellite radio provider is apparently close to successfully concluding a contract renewal with Howard Stern. The radio legend has been a key figure in Sirius XM's long-term success, and many see him as being vital to its continued leadership status.

Stern won't come cheap, though. Some report that $120 million per year might be the going rate to make sure that the celebrity doesn't jump ship to a rival sounding board.

Sirius has worked hard to try to diversify its operations to rely less heavily on Stern. Back in July, it agreed to pay $325 million to buy podcast production and distribution specialist Stitcher. The move reflected the increased interest in podcasts, as well as heightened competition among entertainment companies to obtain top-quality content to attract subscribers.

Sirius XM stock still has some work to do in 2020 if it wants to avoid breaking an 11-year streak of rising share prices. Landing Stern would likely be the best way for the media company to make a play at positive returns for the year -- even if he comes with a hefty price tag.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Sirius XM Radio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
$239.71 (-2.24%) $-5.49
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
$5.78 (-2.86%) $0.17
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NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$11,051.64 (%)

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