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Why Ford and Fastly Flew on a Quiet Stock Market Day

By Dan Caplinger - Jan 21, 2021 at 1:09PM

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Market participants were ready for a rest after a fast start to 2021.

Thursday was a quiet day for the stock market, with most major market benchmarks giving up early gains and moving modestly lower by midday. Investors have already gotten an amazing start to 2021, sending the stock market to all-time highs yet again, and now they appear to ready to wait and see what the near future will bring. As of just 12:30 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.03%) was down 48 points to 31,141, and the S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.01%) fell three points to 3,849. However, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -0.30%) worked its way still higher into record territory, rising 28 points to 13,485.

Red-hot tech stocks have been market leaders for quite a while, so it's not terribly surprising to see edge computing star Fastly (FSLY -1.57%) among the big winners in the market on Thursday. However, Ford Motor (F -2.72%) has been stealthier, largely flying under the radar until posting a sizable gain today.

Ford is hitting the gas

Shares of Ford were up more than 7% on Thursday at midday. That brought the automaker stock's gains to 33% in the first three weeks of 2021, and many investors think that Ford has more in the tank to keep climbing higher.

Ford earned favorable comments on Wednesday morning from analysts at Deutsche Bank. Putting the stock on its short-term "catalyst call buy list," Deutsche Bank predicts that Ford's sales volumes will grow substantially in 2021, and the automaker is likely to offer favorable guidance for the coming year when it reports its fourth-quarter results in early February. Subsequently, other professionals picked up on Ford's rise, extending Wednesday's sharp share-price gains into a second day.

Black Ford F-150 pickup at a marina.

Image source: Ford Motor.

Given the rise in interest in electric vehicles, it's not surprising that Ford hasn't gotten a lot of notice lately. But even Ford is looking closely at EVs, and if it can successfully manufacturer an electric version of its ultra-popular F-150 pickup truck, then investors are likely to start paying attention. Moreover, unlike most of the newer EV stocks, Ford's valuation remains extremely attractive even after its recent rise.

Some people think of Ford as a dinosaur, but it's come a long way toward restoring its relevance in a fast-changing industry. Even having doubled since last March, Ford stock could have further to rise.

A fast climb for Fastly

Meanwhile, shares of Fastly were up 7%. Stock analysts were also the reason behind the edge computing stock's move higher.

Analysts at Oppenheimer weighed in on Fastly, boosting their rating on the stock from perform to outperform and setting a price target of $125 per share. Investors have already appropriately discounted the stock to reflect worries about the company's past reliance on short-video social media giant TikTok, in Oppenheimer's view, and the analysts now believe that Fastly should trade more in line with industry peer Cloudflare (NET -3.98%).

Moreover, it's entirely possible that business will get back to normal for Fastly under the Biden administration in Washington. Bans against TikTok never really took from an enforcement perspective, and the service has been more popular than ever, prompting rival social media companies to offer their own takes on short video.

Even after its recent declines, Fastly's stock isn't cheap by most measures. However, growth-hungry investors are willing to bet that the edge computing company can catch up to even higher valuations from other players in the industry.

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Stocks Mentioned

Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$12.50 (-2.72%) $0.35
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,261.90 (0.03%) $8.77
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,901.36 (0.01%) $0.57
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$11,354.62 (-0.30%) $-33.88
Fastly, Inc. Stock Quote
Fastly, Inc.
FSLY
$11.93 (-1.57%) $0.19
Cloudflare, Inc. Stock Quote
Cloudflare, Inc.
NET
$55.69 (-3.98%) $-2.31

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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